Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 S.O.F.A. 50K Doesn't Disappoint

As fog winds it's way down the Rogue, through Merlin and past Galice, it floats above the river, light like a feather. The runners who convened at Grave Creek Trail Head on Saturday attempted to do just that, float like a feather. Others, at the end of the day, felt the lead in their legs as 31 hard earned miles suddenly took their toll.

The day was certainly a celebration of birthdays, but also the celebration of a new year and new goals. Some cobwebs were blown out, and the strong willed determination of many, ignited.

The S.O.F.A (as most fat a$$ races are known to be) has been a time for runners to come together in a setting not so competitive and without all the intimidation and pressure of months of hard work. Certainly some of us needed to work off a little winter weight, but ultimately friends far and wide came out to share in a unique experience in a one-of-a-kind place. Eugene, Bend, Ashland and Yreka all represented. The above picture represents the dissidents, to which the aforementioned statement bears no weight at all.

Runner's set off on the rocky slopes of the wild and scenic Rogue River. The trail demands your attention but still provides excitement for these experienced feet.

Desiree was out there having fun.

Even John Ticer can't seperate from this pack!

Shahid finds some level ground on one of the easier creek crossings.

I believe that's "Deer Blood," correct me if I'm wrong Rennaker.

Ahh, it's all up hill from here.

We saw 17 runners complete the 50k, while another 19 pushed their own limits enjoying a flawless January day on the Rogue River Trail.

Eric Skaggs 50k 4:06
Andy Martin 50k 4:15
Nick Lewis 50k 4:18
Hal Koerner 50k 4:33
Lewis Taylor 50k 4:33
Dan Olmstead 50k 4:34
Jenn Shelton 50k 4:50
John Price 50k 5:00
Eric Poole 50k 5:06
Chris Rennaker 50k 5:20
Timothy Olson 50k 5:21
Aaron Brian 50k 5:22
Jody Waters 50k 5:22
John Ticer 50k 5:35
Craig Thornley 50k 5:35
Rob Cain 50k 5:36
Annie Taylor 50k 6:36
Clyde Aker 30 mile 7:15
Anna Bates 27 miles 6:36
Max King 24 miles 4:00
Daniel Newberry 22 miles 3:27
Jim Morgan 20 miles fast
Ric Sayre 20 miles fast
Clayton Gillette 20 miles fast
Robert Hodge 20 miles 3:52
Vic Harris 20 miles 3:53
Heather Timmons 20 miles 4:00
Dana Duvivier 20 miles 4:00
Erin Keller 20 miles 4:33
Mel Baily 20 miles 5:16
Carly Varner 17 miles 3:29
Des Barnes 17 miles 3:29
Shahid Ali 17 miles 3:29
Aaron Michalson 16 miles 2:37
Tim Turk 16 miles 2:43
Tom Pelsor 15 miles 4:30

Like my good friend says, "don't jump in the water if you can't swim."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pine to Palm 100

This may not seem like much, but to those of you asking where the "Palm" comes from, now you have it. This one, probably the largest we could find in Ashland, is just a block off main street where dozens of the warm weather species used to greet visitors.

Around the turn of the century, Ashland developers wanted to promote the town as a mineral water spa area, like Saratoga or Carlsbad. The idea was to develop the city-owned land in Ashland Creek Canyon as a commercial resort. Money and business interests liked their vision and Southern Pacific Railroad Company backed the resort idea as a way to bring more tourism to the West.

The City of Ashland captured its abundant botanical heritage in its motto, “Where the palms meet the pines.” Only thirteen other regions on the planet offer greater species diversity than found in the Siskiyous.

Most of the Palm trees may be gone now, but Rogue Valley Runners is interested in bringing folks back to the area for exactly the same reason. For by the time you arrive in Ashland, via the 100 mile Pine to Palm route, rest and relaxation will be all that you are doing.

It will be an arduous journey, but it is time to start thinking about the inaugural Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run.

This September, 200 runners will traverse the Siskiyous on a mixture of dirt road, two-track and single-track with delightful views of Mt. Shasta and Mt McLaughlin. 20,000ft of climb and descent await the optimistic and will test the weary, in the end we promise a diverse course and a fantastic weekend. This vision is the accumulation of a number of folks; the countless hours of volunteering, race directing and just plain running will come together to give you a scenic tour of a special region many of us call home.

So are you ready? Register here.

Help the Haitian Relief Effort
Register during the month of January and $5 from your entry fee will be donated to the American Red Cross Haitian Relief Fund.

There will be many updates along the way, but now we have you thinking, and hopefully running.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can of Worms

Dan Olmstead described it best the other day on AJW's blog when he commented, "you opened up a can of worms." I found the blanket statement rather relevant, somewhat outdated (who say's that anymore), overall pretty funny, and the epitome of what had been dug up this past week in ultrarunning. For those of you not anchored to distance running beyond the marathon, Ultrarunning Magazine just released it's 2009 Ultrarunning Rankings as well as 2009 Performances of the Year.

Insert gratuitous Mail tribune article:

Three Ashlanders ranked in Ultrarunning magazine Top 20

This piece on Southern Oregon's running heritage ran today as well:

Yep, Frank Shorter winning the inaugural Pear Blossom.

The Long Run

I should say that back in June when I won Western States, for the second time, against arguably the toughest field assembled in Squaw Valley, I had a stranglehold on the UROY voting and Performance of the year. Little did I know that times would fall, from such great heights, at races like Hardrock, S.O.B., White River, Where's Waldo 100k, Wasatch, Mountain Masochist, Javelina 100, JFK 50 and all in the span of 4 months. This would eventually force a panel of voters to wade through the wreckage of broken course records to determine a winner.

Luckily, a number of amazing performances were recognized and hours upon hours of dedicated mileage revealed. I think the voters nailed many of the top performances and runners of 2009. If there is any reason to doubt how the chips fell in 2009, well we'll take that up in 2010. 2009 will certainly be tough to replicate and by gosh it seems like a lifetime since 5 runners ran sub 17 at Western States.

Ultimately, the 22,000 + finishers of ultra marathons around the US turned in performances of a lifetime and to that we say, congrats.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Lest You Forgot, 2009 Retrospective.

My main goal for posting is to render an account of all things 2009, for those of you that prefer to "live in the moment." The past is easily forgotten, and it would seem runners are no exception to the rule. Perhaps we are worse. On to the next accomplishment, goal, race, place, fun time. So without further ado, 2009 in pictures, and captions of course.

Not much going on here. Let's just say pins don't fall as fast as miles around this quartet.

Congrats to Ian on winning the La Sportiva Oregon Hill Climb Series. Other fast performances followed like TRT and JFK but we gotta say you embraced the steep creep and I'm sure you're not going to miss that.

I now know Leland is better at foreshadow than beer miles. The look on his face, pre-run, told the tale of imbimbification and ultimately projection. Chris, you certainly made your strides at Cascade Crest 100, nice job peaking after the beer mile.

If you've ever run with Ian you know this is where he has to stay, behind you! Perhaps the ultimate motivation at WS this year.

I believe this is Skaggs way of letting Max know he can kiss his course record good bye.

"So you think you can dance?" Well Darcy certainly tore up the Rockies this year and benefited by throwing her own benefit, kudos. A stellar first 50 miler also preceded a close to 2009. Nice work gal.

Erik Skaggs best job of foreshadow, sorry.

Nick Lewis, in his first 100 miler, climbed his way to a stellar 2nd place finish at the Leadville Trail 100. His boss has two second place finishes there but Nick better not be shouting any finishing times if he wants that raise in 2010.

Nice work for our designer, she followed some vague advice and completed arguably the toughest 100 mile debut.

Pretty Ultra Impressive!!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Season for Giving

On December 16, 2009, JB Benna, his wife Jennifer Benna, and their newly rescued dog Scooby began a 1,100 mile bike tour of California's Pacific Coast from Oregon to Mexico. Their goal, to raise money for the San Francisco SPCA as well as promote shelter pet adoption for the Holidays. I was lucky enough to play rendezvous and help them make their way down the Redwood Highway to the Oregon/California border.

JB is the man behind such films as "The Runner" and "UltraMarathon Man", the story behind Dean Karnazes 50 marathon in 50 states in 50 days. His production/distribution company, Journeyfilm, captures extreme endurance events. So covering 1,100 miles didn't seem like to much of a stretch for this active duo. When I heard why they were doing it, and on bikes none the less, I was extremely touched by their kindness that I decided to share it all with you.

Jen Benna writes, "When we lost our first dog, Mr. Big, to lymphoma in October, we felt compelled to find a way to give something back. Its kind of amazing how a dog can make you smile after a tough day or hearing your cat’s purr is all you need to fall asleep. In other words, life without our furry buddies would be pretty boring. So it seemed simple enough. Take two of our life passions and put them together and see what we get. Endurance sports + love for animals and poof, Pedal for Paws was born."

The three are days away from reaching the US/Mexico border but further from their $5,000 campaign for the ASPCA. If you're not through giving this holiday season please visit their site, and put a few coins in their purse. If nothing else, please track their progress and get inspired. I have enjoyed following their trek and have felt almost as good doing it as if I was out there with them.