My Favorite Quote

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved. ” – Helen Keller

Musings of a Mad Man

what’s on my mind lately? 100 miles naturally. i just raced a 50 miler pretty well. i’m happy with the outcome and my training/preparation for the race. by wed of this week i felt pretty well recovered (thank you recover-ease!). of course then i taught two pretty hard spin classes and rode yesterday with justin for a couple hours easy. problem was it didn’t feel easy to my legs. although my avg heart rate was 117 my legs were zapped and tired. like being smacked in the face with the obvious.. take some time off the legs. i am writing this to fight the urge to ride out to my buddy cory’s house in issaquah (75-80 miles round trip) right now to watch the red sox beat the mariners. doing this won’t get me any closer to my goal – at least that is what i keep telling myself. i need to rest today and tomorrow. damn yoga class was cancelled too!

back to 100 miles. i only have 4 weeks left! i’ve been asking friends how i should go about it. i am very lucky in that i have some incredible runners on my advisory board: sean meissner, rod bien, justin angle, jamie gifford, and krissy moehl have all offered great advice so far. i had an urge to do a 70+ mile run this week. there was a unanimous “no” from the board on that one. the recovery from that would outweigh the benefit. ok, agreed. so i’m splitting it up instead, back to back 35’ers on mon and tues. since i’ve run a fast 50k, 50 mile and 100k most of the advisors also warned me to start the race slow. “this will be hard for you” one of them said. indeed. this course has never been run under 24 hours. another one menioned a few times was “take care of yourself during the race”. i think i’m pretty good at this. i’ll liken it to 24 hour solo mtn bike racing, which will be great experience for me to draw from. rod pointed to specificity, something i always stress to my coaching clients. do lots of training runs at the pace you will race the 100 at. tempo runs of 6:20/min miles won’t help 80 miles in when my pace is 15/min miles. sage advice… thanks guys!

the training for the grand teton 100 has me almost more excited than the actual race. this prep will include two days of 35-38 miles in the olympic national park, one of the greatest places on earth. then the following week i’m going to sean meissner‘s 100 mile boot camp in sisters, or. where he will hammer me and ashley nordell (she won angeles crest 100 last year) for 3 days; 8, 42, 25 miles on some beautiful and new terrain (for me). from there it’s riding the taper for 2.5 weeks. it’s going to be sweet!

unrelated – i’m totally grooving on this rhymefest & citizen cope track right now.

Weekend Update

our team manager erik nachtrieb rocks and was at the trioba 12 hour adventure race this weekend providing live updates from the field. if you haven’t checked out the dartnews blog yet have a look.. you can even relive the race! here are a couple of the videos.. more to come (both my teammates carried their cameras!)

the finish

talking with dart-nuun about my crash (i’m ok)

Big Weekend of Racing!

i’m very excited for some great big racing this weekend. i’m racing in the trioba 12 hour adventure race with my team dart-nuun consisting of ryan vangorder (rvg) and aaron rinn (ar), and myself (this years series does not have a coed requirement for the overall win). both of these guys just raced really well in raid the north extreme, canada’s premier expedition adventure race. congrats on 2nd place cyril, rvg, ar and our new teammate mari chandler! hopefully rvg and ar are recovered enough to hammer for 12 hrs just two weeks after racing for 102 hours non stop (read the race report here). as a team we’ve won this trioba adventure race series for the last 5 years. it’s been an amazing training ground for our team.. however the yeager brothers have decided this will be the last one. =( but for those of you local racers all is not lost. 4th dimension is here to our rescue. rvg wrote a nice blog on it too.

keep an eye on these sites this weekend for updates:
  • trioba 12 hour adventure race – live updates reported by our team manager erik nachtreib.
  • hardrock 100 mile ultramarathon – scott jurek and karl meltzer batted it out and jurek won in the end. youtube video of start and of the winners finishing – congrats to scott and krissy!
  • tour de france – so far it’s been very exciting. i love robbie mcewen. go watch the footage from stage 2 and you will too. but i want the american levi leipheimer to win it the overall.

ok i’ve got to get packing for the race…

Bev Abbs Western States Endurance Run Race Report

Western States 100 Endurance Run – June 23, 2007
By Beverly Anderson Abbs

This year was the 3rd time for Alan and me to run the Western States 100 Endurance Run, an amazing event that starts at Olympic Village, Squaw Valley and travels west following old mining trails and roads to eventually end at Auburn, California. We were both hoping for very hot weather, similar to last year when temperatures were well over 100 degrees in the canyons. Unfortunately, as the weekend drew closer, it became obvious that the weather was going to be pretty close to perfect likely making this a fast year.

At 5:00 am Saturday morning the gun sounded and 400 runners began making their way up to Emigrant Pass from the Village. The race begins with a 2000 foot climb over 4 miles and I was feeling pretty good in the cool morning air. I reached the top quickly in first place for the women and set off down the single track to the first aid station at Lyon’s Ridge with Nikki Kimball, the 2004 and 2006 winner, right behind me. I arrived at this station almost 10 minutes faster than last year and a few minutes faster than my goal time.

Nikki and I left the aid station together and kept each other company along the rocky ridges. She pulled away as I stopped to adjust a shoe and I arrived at the next aid station, Red Star Ridge, just after her, refilled bottles, grabbed a bit to eat and hurried on down the trail. Between Red Star and the next aid at Duncan Canyon, there is a significant amount of rocky technical downhill, something that Nikki excels at, and over this section she started pulling away from me. I ran carefully down the rocky parts to avoid crashing like last year, and made it to Duncan Canyon a few minutes behind Nikki. Red Star Ridge would be the last place I’d see her for the rest of the race.

To this point I had seen no other women on the course and was hoping to keep it that way through the end. Robinson Flat, the next aid, is the first place we weigh in and get to see our crews and I arrived here about 20 minutes ahead of last year’s time. The weigh in is to make sure runners are not gaining or losing too much weight. A gain may indicate that you are taking in too much salt so your body is retaining water, or that you are taking in no salt and the water is sitting in your stomach and not moving into your blood stream. Of these, the latter can lead to a condition called hyponatremia as the water eventually moves into your bloodstream and dilutes your body’s salts. Recently this condition has resulted in hospitalization and even death in the case of a radio talk show stunt. Losing too much weight means you are dehydrated and need to take in more water and salts or risk renal failure if it becomes extreme. The goal is to maintain your weight within a couple of pounds of what was recorded at check-in.
I weighed in about 2 pounds up from my check in weight meaning I needed to cut back a little on my salts so my body would get rid of some water. My crew and Alan’s were working together, knowing that we would be fairly close this early in the race. They were jumping up and down to get my attention and had everything I could possibly want ready for me. I grabbed two fresh bottles, a couple gus, a new packet of salt tablets and some little baggies of food I could easily eat on the run.

As I was leaving the aid station I came upon Mark Lantz having some difficulty. One of his eyes had lost depth perception and running down those rocky trails was proving to be very difficult for him.

This next section seemed to fly by as I passed through 2 aid stations on my way to Last Chance, and the next weigh in. The past 2 years I’ve run this section with Dean Karnazes and we’ve pushed each other pretty hard, his absence this year made it tough to keep the pace up. I came in to Last Chance and saw Sunsweet teammate Matt Simms. He had started very fast but by the time he arrived at this aid station he had lost 10 pounds, putting him in a dehydration danger zone. Volunteers held him here until he was able to get some fluids in and keep food down.

Matt and I left together and were about to enter the first of the canyons. We had a long rocky descent to the stream and swinging bridge to look forward to. We stayed together to the bottom catching Glen Redpath, but on the climb out the boys easily outdistanced me up to Devil’s Thumb. I labored up the climb and as I was approaching the top a woman called ahead that I was coming. I heard the cheer long before I reached them. My friend Diane had a popsicle waiting and I got hugs and pats from all my friends. I filled up and headed off again to the next canyon. On the descent I caught Matt and Glen as well as Greg Crowther, one of the favorites to win. I made it to the bottom of El Dorado Canyon and started up the next climb to Michigan Bluff, where I would see my crew again.

Again, Matt and Glen passed on the climb but I kept a steady pace and arrived just after them at the top. I was starting to hit some of these aid stations a little slower than goal although still 15 minutes ahead overall, so I knew I was starting to suffer.
Michigan Bluff is one of those rare small towns where the entire town comes out to support this race and it’s very exciting to come into it. After I weighed in, my crew grabbed my bottles and walked with me as I refueled; 2 new bottles, half a chocolate slimfast, some candy, some baked beans, and turkey, cheese and avocado on white bread for the trail. A bottle of water dumped over my head to cool me down and I was ready to run. Matt was just ahead and I was catching him again. I caught him before the descent into Volcano Canyon and kept going. When I reached Bath road with just under 2 miles to the next major aid at Forest Hill, I ran into someone coming down the hill to meet Craig, another Sunsweet runner not far behind. He ran me up the hill until my pacer came out to pick me up and run in with me. From Forest Hill (mile 62) runners can be accompanied by a pacer for safety, mine was Matt Hart of the adventure racing team DART and he was determined to not let me slow down. He ran me through the weigh in, then to my crew who were again ready to walk with me, carrying everything needed to get me set up for the next section.

Food, water, salts and I was ready to go again, following Matt as he set a pace that I hadn’t kept for a quite a while. I tried to hang on without whining and was doing okay on descents. Small climbs however, were becoming very painful by this point and I was reduced to a walk for even what would normally be seen as a bump in the trail. I forged on trying to keep his pace. The drink mix I had opted for out of Forest Hill did not agree with my stomach and by the time we reached the next aid station I’d had very little to drink. I emptied the bottle and had it filled with gu2o and ice.

Matt pushed hard and got us to Cal2 pretty close to my goal time. We filled up, ate a bit and headed on. I knew this section well and knew we had 6 switchbacks before leveling out and coming to a dirt road. At this point was the worst climb of this section of the course. I tried to forget about the upcoming climb and focus on going fast on the down hill section but my legs weren’t moving as fast as I wanted. This was my first really low point so far in the race. I struggled up the hill, trying to joke about it, hating every step and wanting desperately to stop. Finally we reached the top and the next aid station. The next station would be at the river crossing and I was hoping that the cold water would help get me moving well again.

We slogged along to the river where I weighed in again, so far very consistent through the day, and got ready to cross using the cable. Safety volunteers were there to help runners across the river. The water was frigidly cold, but made my legs feel a little less heavy. After the crossing was another 2 mile climb so I grabbed a cup of soup and some snacks and headed up, being chased by a photographer who wanted me to run. I hadn’t wanted to run for the past three hours so this was a big request. I slogged up and eventually reached the top where I had planned to change socks and shoes. I sat down and took my footwear off to see both of my second toes completely obscured by huge bubbles of blood blister. No wonder they had been hurting for a while. I pulled off a number pin and had it heated with a lighter, popping and tearing the blister skin so they wouldn’t refill, put on fresh socks and shoes, got my lights and another shirt, drank a can of espresso and some more soup and set off. Dave Terry had passed while I was dressing my toes and we caught him again pretty quickly. I was now only a couple minutes ahead of my goal time so I tried to push a little faster. Matt kept me moving and if I stopped to walk, he would count out 25 steps then get me running again. By the time we were getting to the next aid station, it was dark and we were using our lights.

We kept pushing along, more or less matching my goal times to the HWY 49 crossing. This aid station is less than 7 miles from the finish but is followed by two climbs that can insult the body pretty badly. My crew was there to meet me again, as well as Alan’s, indicating he was only 30 minutes behind me and looked pretty good. The final weigh in, 2 cups of potato soup, down to one water bottle for this last push and I was off again. I was told that a friend from Oregon, Rod Bien, was only 8 minutes ahead and I could catch him if I wanted to…hmm. I really hadn’t “wanted” to do anything for a while, but that was a carrot that might get me moving. Matt and I arrived at the final aid station. Three miles to go, with “just” the climb up to Robie point and a mile to the High School left. I checked my times and wondered how it could possibly have taken almost an hour to do this section last year, it’s only 3 miles!

We cruised out of the aid station and after about a half mile of running we hit the actual climb and suddenly I remembered why it took almost an hour! I was reduced to a hike that I couldn’t even call a power hike, literally having to crawl up the wooden steps in a few places as they were too high for me to step up, and finally reached the road with the knowledge that this was actually the steepest part of the climb. Near the top there was a street party going on with people out cheering on runners. The little boost that gave got me up the final bit of climbing and into the last mile. The finish is on the Track at Auburn High School, visiting now for the 3rd time!

I finished in 19:31, 40 minutes faster than last year and 5 minutes faster than my goal, and 2nd place female…again.

Youngs Lake Ultra

today i ran the youngs lake ultra – 28.8 miles with 2,700 feet of gain. for me this race was a “c” race. meaning no taper or reduction in training before it. i ran 35 miles last weekend at the blanchard mountain ultra and had a 23hr week of training going into this race. this was my “race pace” long run… which is almost impossible to do to yourself outside of an actual race. i felt like this relatively flat course (in the ultra world) would be a good test of my leg speed, kick and general fitness. i was hoping to run close to the course record time, and clock somewhere in the 7:30’s per mile. i knew this would be tough at this point in my training. i have just started running again and have done all of one speed session so far. the race consisted of three 9.6 mile loops with 900 feet of gain/loss each.

mission accomplished!
total time 3:39 – 7:36 min pace per mile – 4th overall (just 2 minutes off of the course record)

1st lap: 1:11 (avg hr 153)
even though my goal was to run 7:30’s for the 29 miles i got caught up in chasing james varner out the gate. this was a bad idea as he was running to break his course record and he did – congrats james! watching him disappear played mind games with me. i was over my anaerobic threshold and he was ever so slowly disappearing. i am now painfully aware that i am almost too competitive to do races as training sessions. i was a bit wheezy from the dairy i had last night. i was tired from not sleeping enough and drinking too much coffee yesterday.. i basically had no spunk and my legs felt like they had nothing in them. this is undoubedly also because of the 23 hours of training i put in this week. i should have expected this to happen really… but somehow i was not mentally prepared to feel this way.

i once read an interview with ned overend that stuck with me. he spoke of early season races where he’ll get his ass handed to him and have tons of people ask “what happened?”. his response was something like “what do you mean? that went well!”.

2nd lap: 1:13 (avg hr 150)
ran by myself and tried to focus on keeping my heart rate as close to my anaerobic threshold as possible. this was harder than it should have been because of my general energy deficit. my legs still felt flat. but this was great mental training. focusing on my hr kept me from thinking about how boring the course was and how i still had over 1.5 hours of hammering to go.

3rd lap: 1:14 (avg hr 152)
although i felt like i was super steady this lap it was a delusion. as i neared the finish i realized i was a few minutes off pace. i somehow found enough to poured it on at the end going well over my anaerobic threshold for the last couple miles… at one point felt like i was floating!

i learn something every time i race – what did i learn this race?

  • no dairy in the week before a race, and certainly not the night before! (but that cheddar cheese the frasers served last night was sooooo good!) damn. i was congested this morning, and wheezy during the race.
  • always have my asthma inhaler available in drop bag (how many times do i have to learn this one?)
  • the continental divide is my ultra race shoe! most had race flats or road shoes on. i have moved up a 1/2 size in continental divides. they were certainly overkill for this race.. however i didn’t want to be testing them for the first time at big horn or western. they worked beautifully with my sole custom footbeds… perfection.
  • don’t let negative thoughts invade. this only happens to me when i’m overtrained or tired going into a race. i had a lot of negative thoughts during the first lap because i was getting smoked. after i realized i was on track for 7:30 min miles i was fine. but that is just plain dumb. i knew it too. i kept changing my negative thoughts to positive thoughts, focussing on what i could affect. it was hard to pull my head out of it simply because i felt flat, empty and tired during the first lap. so much of ultra distance racing is mental – i gotta work on that.
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