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Matt Hart's Blog - Tales of Endurance

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The HYPE MACHINE ~ Sean Meissner vs. Matt Hart ~ Grudge Match

bryon powell wrote a lovely blog on his experience at the orcas island 50km. he also put together the below video of sean meissner and my grudge match. in this video sean guarantees a pocatello 50 mile victory of more than 23 minutes. honestly. i mean honestly.. tons of vert, rough course, my favorite distance = he doesn't have a chance.



to be continued at the pocatello 50 miler.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Orcas Island 50km Race Report 2010 - Flying as Close to the Sun as Possible

photo by glenn tachiyama


sean attempting to pre-fatigue my abdominal with smack talk on the ferry to orcas island


i consider the pacific northwest my other home town, after portsmouth, new hamphire of course.  i moved here to work for microsoft in 1999.  i moved to salt lake city in december, but there is no other town that has my heart like seattle.  great friends, great trails, great races.

i have a wonderful group of local seattle athletes that i coach.  my clients miriam and her husband darryl came out to crew me.  which at a 50km just means they pulled my bottles out of my drop bag and handed them to me hopefully as i run by.  they both professed to loving the spectacle of it all and i see more ultrarunning events in their future.  thank you both soo much for being there!!  

so two years ago i race the orcas island 50km. that year we were forced to run a snow coarse that was about 1,000ft less vertical gain than the course we ran saturday.  the snow coarse had about 6,500ft of gain and suunto said this course was over 50km and about 7,600ft of elevation gain.

thanks alvin crain for this sweet map


as you can read here and here my friend and montrail teammate sean meissner decided that since we were racing against each other twice this year he would publically challenge me.  i think we are landing on the 6 month porn mustash as the penalty for defeat.. although with a 23min lead going into pocatello 50 miler i'm leaning toward the tramp stamp real tatoo of my name on sean's lower back.

we're off! photo by glenn tachiyama


ok so the race.  this course is rugged beautiful single track.  mostly runnable and oh so fun.  as the gun went off yassine pulled ahead and the adrenaline of not having raced for over a year and a half pushed me to the front.  at which point sean, who is tucked in right behind me says " "you better savor this moment hart, because it's the last time you will be in front of me this whole race!".

in the first 30 minutes yassine slowly pulled away and my place in the lead pack faded.  from leading it, to barely being able to hold on.  i was seeing numbers on my heart rate monitor i haven't seen in years.  2:26 marathoner dan olmstead would pull ahead on the climbs, me and b.c. would pass on the descents.  that didn't last too long however, at some point before the mile 11 aid station they all ran away from me.  i was worried i had gone out too hard.  there was a short out and back at the aid station that allowed me to see just how much time they put on me... 2mins - not bad.

on my way out i saw sean for the first time.  he looked concerned.  i did some more math and figured i had 5mins on him.  montrail runner ellie greenwood was less than a minute on his heals looking super strong and positive as always. 

from there we climbed up a game path that is a knee pushing grunt.  i caught the eventual 2nd place runner from british columbia.  this dood was running downhills with reckless abandon, and seemingly no concern for his well being.  i guess it's something in the water up there because gary robbins puts it down too (see 2010 HURT race report).

b.c. dood then decided to crush the powerline climb.  bye bye.  i was moving very well and watching my heart rate.  i just couldn't keep up.  ultra awesome photog glenn tachiyama was at the view point to take some shots as we approached the high point of the course on top of mount constitution.

la sportiva's own ellen parker ran a great 5hr 26min for 2nd place 50km


me right before the wheels came off. photo by glenn tachiyama


miriam and darryl were at the top with all my bottles laid out to chose from. again, thanks guys! the descent from mt constitution was great, however my bottle choice was not.  heed and nuun don't mix.  there was just one 600ft climb up and over then down to the lake, around the lake to the finish.  right as i started the climb i bonked hard!  i saw my buddy bill huggins who had taken a wrong turn.  he said "come on hart, use me as a rabbit!".  next time i looked up he must have been 100 meters down the trail.  it was then i realized i was walking.  i believe the best description of this is "wheels coming off".  i had neglected to eat enough on the constitution climb and the bottle of calories i had was conspiring to make me throw up (again, heed and nuun don't mix).  i ate 3 gels in 1 minute and had to shuffle along as i waited for the simple sugar to kick in.  as i descended to the lake for the last 4 miles or so it did, and i was back on track.  i even hammered the last 2 miles at near breaking point, flying as close to the sun as i could.  i wanted a real test, and i got one.  turns out the 2:20ish marathoners got off course.  that sucks sooo bad, but as we all know it happens at trail races.  i was really happy to run 4hr 47min for 3rd place overall. 

1st thing i consumed was two oreos. i'm getting a bad rap for being obnoxiously healthy and everyone is now going out of there way to get me to eat junk! photo by bryon powell


sean's quick recap post is here and he said, "Yes, Matt kicked my butt. 4:47 to 5:10. And no, I didn't take a wrong turn. Matt rocked it. I got rocked. I'm sporting the loser's vest in my new profile pic."  so now going into the pocatello 50 miler i have a 23 minute cushion in our "grudge match".  thank you orcas volunteers and james for an awesome race and even better post race party.  i am an old man and haven't stayed up that late laughing in a long long time. full 50km results here.. and a 'grudge match' video bryon powell from iRunFar.com put together - too funny.



sean did kinda make this look good. photo by bryan powell


my gear



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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sean 'n Me

in response to sean's post "matt 'n me".


i first met sean meissner at the where's waldo 100km in 2006.  i crewed and paced krissy moehl that day.  she beat everyone, guys included, sean included.  that was the year i made the move from endurance cycling and adventure racing into ultrarunning.  along the way i had heard sean's name quite a bit.  i had this picture of him in my mind with a skirt on, which he was rumored to run in on ocassion.  i also figured he complemented that skirt with a yellow marathon maniacs singlet, of which i was certain he was a pretentious member.  i figured he wasn't going to be my kind of guy really.

i couldn't have been more wrong.  not having had even as much as a real conversation sean jumped into my van for an ultra adventure that took us to run bighorn, play in the tetons for a few days, then head to tahoe to pace at western states.  many more adventures followed.. and now i consider sean one of my best friends.  you'd be hard pressed to find a more loyal, honest and genuine person.  

in 2008 we consummated our relationship by running the trans rockies together, as team montrail.  this put our running strengths in stark contrast.  day one was flat dirt road for 13 miles.  i stared at the mhw bolt on the back of sean's montrail jersey as the world blurred by on the sides like i was going into hyperspace.  doods got leg speed.  on the hike up hope pass at 12,500 feet i ran and pushed him from the waist, adventure racing style.

today i woke up in seattle, went out for a run with the thursday threshold crew, my first threshold run in months.  before i left the house i saw sean had made a blog post called "matt n' me". i cringed. you see he's been taunting me about this orcas island 50km for about a month. telling me he's going to "kick my ass" and calling it a "grudge match".  in the blog he calls for suggestions to what we should wager on the two races we face each other in this year.  orcase island 50km and the pocatello 50 miler ~ lowest overall time wins. 

i haven't raced since august 2008, when sean and i ran the transrockies race together.  this fact caused @masonham to comment "Seems kind of suspicious that he wants to make the bet on your first race back after surgery." 

i've been accused of sandbagging in the past, so rather than say i've been skiing more than running, etc, etc i'll give my true unfiltered opinion.  the slow runnable climbs and flats favor sean.  the steeper climbs and more techincal trail favor me.  i think there is more runnable climbing than there is technical on this course.  however i have course knowledge, sean does not.  sean is more fit than i am right now.  but i have gotten some good training in and i've been at altitude a lot lately.  honestly though i'm not sure i have the high end fitness to run 50km flat out.  with all that said... i will run as hard as i can. i will enter the pain cave and not come out until i am bleeding from my eyes or i have beaten sean meissner.  i will turn myself inside out if need be and we'll let the blogosphere decide what the stakes are.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." ~ King Solomon


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running On Orcas Island


this past weekend i had the pleasure of taking mandy hosford to the san juan islands for some runnin' and some campin'. we headed out early sunday when most people were headed back to reality. mandy is a salt lake resident so i wanted to impress her with the best of the pacnw. i have a short list that seems to grow daily, but on that list is rainier, san juans, north cascades, snoqualmie and the olympic peninsula.


the sun was out for her first ferry ride and we arrived with plenty of time to get our run on. i'm on the good side of my recent injury battle. surgery to remove my neuroma was a complete success. i'm still dealing with an ab/hip issue but it might prove to be manageable. at least i feel like i'm doing the right things to make it manageable. regardless, i can't think of a better place to reacquaint myself with trail running on what i knew would be beautiful and buttery smooth singletrack. plus the quiet beauty of the islands is good for your soul.


with a copy of james varner's orcas island 50km trail map in my pocket and virtually no recollection of the time i ran the race left in my brain we headed out. we started with the 1,500ft foot climb up mount constitution via the mountain lake loop, then finished with the mount pickett loop for about 16 miles and 3,000ft of gain. the views of the island were amazing. the climate and singletrack were a stark contrast to the trails mandy is used to running in the wasatch. after the running and a soak in mtn lake (for the legs) we headed to eastsound to enjoy some good music and good food. a nap in the sun on the grass finished us off - life is good.



monday started in the fog and was a perfect way to wake up and enjoy the quaint little town of eastsound and the shore before heading home on the ferry. this one should be high on your list of place to enjoy and run.


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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2009 Orcas Island 50km Video

Sunday, February 8, 2009

2009 Orcas Island 50km Pictures

arriving at the island

photographer glenn tachiyama, race director james varner and alison hanks

a very small portion of the 600 cookies alison and i made
this was in fact the first time i've ever made cookies

4.5 hrs of this is called ultra-cookie baking!
i then had an ultra tummy ache

james got all the race shirts from thrift stores and screened them
there were a lot of very cool pieces and everyone loved it

case in point

at moran state park we eat off camp trays

fast girls monica ochs and krissy moehl

james, alison and laura make things happen

fast canadian and fellow montrailian gary robbins (2nd overall)

ccc100 rd charlie crissman and friends

some of the 25km racers

sweet plate

cascade falls

they loved nuun

and the chip sammies

miles olrich (3rd place)

miles superman pose

michelle and deb


also check out glenn tachiyama's awesome photos

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2009 Orcas Island 50km

i couldn't run.. so i made cookies.

600 cookies.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Orcas Island 50km Ultra

jen segger - "seegs"

what an awesome place, what an awesome race...
(all photos by glenn tachiyama ~ results)

saturday my friend ellen parker and i headed out to orcas island for james varner's orcas island 50km. from what i know of james he likes good tough courses and this one did not dissapoint. even though he had to alter the course because of the snow up high.. it meassured out at 31.7 miles (i probably ran more than 32 miles) and 6,660 feet of gain and some very tough patches of hands on knees (or ground), head down, crazy steep uphills. see the map here.

as an early season 50km we were all there running this as a "training race". in my previous 7 days before friday i had put in 91 miles. so i figured running on tired"ish" legs would be a great barometer for my training and general fitness... but without a real taper i knew it wouldn't be my finest work. i also knew with the talented field showing up would be perfect for pushing my pace. the idea of fast guys making me move faster was very exciting.

it's pretty crazy how the rumor mill gets going at these races. by race start i was told multiple times that brian morrison, justin angle, scott jurek, brandon sybrowsky and scott mccoubrey were all lining up to race. i had only seen a few of said top runners and this ended up only being partially true. unfortunetaly justin and scott never made it out. the woman's race seemed to be stacked too. my adv race teammate jen segger had come down from bc to race. nuun ultrarunners devon crosby-helms and kendra borgmann were also in attendance. i was excited to see how the woman's race would shake out. i had seen devon running on the burke earlier in the week and she had said it was a training run but mentioned "i still want to win it" with a smile - nice.

my plans to test out the top end were almost derailed the night before the race. i forgot my quinoa, salmon, asparagus dinner in the fridge.. in seattle. ellen was kind enough to share her dinner. only problem was it wasn't obvious that there was lots of cheese melted into the sauce. let's just say i'm lactose intolerant and that caused "stomach issues" through the night. that and the fact that we were sleeping in the back of flat bed truck meant ellen and i probably only got about 3 hours total of very broken uncomfortable sleep. i try not to let these things worry me however, they are bound to happen... no sense stressing out about it. plus this was to be a hard "training run" anyway right (notice how i added hard?)

over 200 runners lined up for the 25km and 50km race start. at 8:30am we started running across the open field of moran state park. the course was two times around an awesome 25km that looped both mountain and cascade lakes. my plan was to run with the front runners of the 25km for the first loop as long as that felt ok. the beginning felt kind of frantic, but it was cool to have seegs running in the front pack with me.

during the first real climb i became inpatient behind the first two runners and passed them on the super steep, mossy rock climb. now in front i put on a little space from the pack until i hit the downhill. on the downhill the flagging lead me into the woods to an overgrown trail. as i searched a few runners with more local knowlegde charged downhill. this wasn't good.. back onto the mega-steep dirt road i set off to catch the first guy, which i was able to do in 1/2 mile or so.

back down by the lake seeg's friend norm was there cheering us on. norm was an awesome help for both jen and my effort at the race. thanks for the help norm, much appreciated!

the first and only aid station was at 6.7 miles on mountain lake. i had run from here on my 30th birthday (years ago) with my friend jenny so i knew the trails around the lake were flat. not good for me. let's just say i don't have the leg speed of a real runner so flats aren't my thing. i drank my new bottle, pleasantly suprised it was lemon lime nuun and tried to focus on quick turn over. by the time i got to the next climb i had two guys biting at my heals. the climb couldn't have come at a better time! as we passed each other on the switchbacks i gave the guy a "whoot! nice running!" and started to pick it up. the secret loop was a super steep climb to the high point and was the highlight of the course. at the top we were greated with amazing views of the islands of the puget sound and soft moss covered rock to run down. with the sun out the views were "stop you in your tracks" good. i slowed a bit to make sure i took it in.

i came through the first lap of 25km in 2:15 and hadn't seen anyone in a while so i figured i was in good shape. i was feeling great but had started to lull myself into running easy. however by the road i heard that i was just 2 minutes up on 2nd place. rob and big's favorite saying "do work son" rang in my head as i, well, put in work to try and put this one out of reach.

it seemed to pay off and by the aid station at mile 22 i now had 9 minutes on 2nd. but of course then came the very flat section around the lake where i knew the entire race would put in time on me! i managed to hold them off and once again the secret loop view was amazing. the last big climb i started to feel a bit bonky. at the time it seemd like a pain to eat a clif shot so i didn't bother and really started to bonk as i approached the finishline. i managed the last few miles and came in first in 4:42. my teammate jen segger ended up winning the woman's race shortly after! nuun ultrarunners devon crosby-helms took 2nd and kendra borgmann came in 3rd looking and feeling sick. my friend ellen won the woman's 25km race! awesome day. james and alison sure put on a great event. thank you guys!

my gear:
my hot shoes: montrail highlanders with teko ecopoly socks (no blisters)
electrolytes: nuun
fuel: clif shots
jersey: retro montrail jersey - courtesy of ty draney!

photos of nuun athletes from glenn tachiyama (all photos):

jen segger (1st female) - on first climb, by waterfall
devon crosby-helms (2nd female) - on first climb
kendra borgmann (3rd female) - downhill

matt hart (1st) - on first climb, by waterfall, 2nd lap, up stairs
brian morrison (3rd) - on first climb, downhill (great shot!)

ellen parker (1st female 25km) - on first climb

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