Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ask an Ultrarunner #3 (synchroblog)

We're at it again. 

Western States Widow asks: It's WS training season again.  That means glimpses of of my husband are becoming rare as cougar sightings. Entire weekends are consumed with training runs. And when he isn't running. he's  sleeping on the couch instead of pulling his weight around the house. When he's awake, he pours over stats from previous years, reads countless running blogs, and talks incessantly about the training and race strategies until my eyes go crossed. While I can appreciate his passion for the race, I have grown to resent how much it impacts our lives.  What should I do?  

Oh my, this question almost sends shivers down my spine.   I have heard stories about such uncompromising women since before I even knew how to stay still long enough to let one "notice" me.  I am going to pass along a story of what can happen to you after you have taken up all your families time training for such an event and then deciding not to finish the said event.   I got into ultra-running because my Dad had the pleasure to pace and crew at a number of Leadville Trail 100's. One particular year, he was fortunate enough to pace and crew for the 2nd place finisher, a feat he would later duplicate and triplicate but not with the same runner and I'm not saying who that runner was except for the fact that they do share the same name and so you know, my dad's name is Hal,  and after many months of mornings at the "Y" on the stair master and treadmill and night time rendezvous in Leadville for headlamp training on Hagerman Pass and the Colorado Trail he thought he was ready to take it to the next level.   Not to mention the countless races that took place leading up the event and the back to back weekend mileage wrung up while maintaining a full time job.  Race day approached and just as quick as a thunderstorm can brew in the thin air of the Rockies his race was all but blown away with the breeze.  As he struggled into Twin Lakes and onto Half Moon he knew he had seen better days and was willing to call it quits at Treeline.  It was there that his faithful wife, who had been tormented and all but widowed for 6 months decided to lock him out of the car and drove away from aid station leaving him no alternative but to find her in Leadville some 30 miles away.  There were also strict instructions to finish the race or find himself another passage back to Denver for what would be a very cold fall and winter.   I would be remiss if I didn't let you know that it indeed lit a fire under our betrothed and wound up finishing with another sub 24 hour buckle.  So if you ask what do I do, know that this was his last 24 hour buckle of any kind. You never know when the obsession could turn to,   

And you always have to be care of what you ask for.  After a year of crewing for me at a number of events, my better half decided she'd rather be running and "enjoying" herself all day rather than doting on an underachiever such as myself.  So this year at WS the plan is just to be first in the household, right honey?!?!

M@asks; I'm a runner in my late thirties, returning to ultras after missing a year due to a torn calf and related injuries. I'm building up mileage for my second hundred, this September,  near a 2-bit Southern Oregon town known for cougar sightings and men in tights. My question has to do with core stability. Why does my crew have, at most, 2 or 3 pictures of me running, while our pc's hard drive is full of photos of young, buff, shirtless, male ultra-runners with shaggy hair, dreamy eyes, and more ab muscles than I can count? should I be doing some sit ups or something?

After years of running behind this guy, I knew that there was something special that got him across the finish line at WS before everyone else.  The half-shirt, or as it has been referred to, the belly shirt.  

Now if you have abs that provide more function that form, well this is not the place for them.  If you work excessively hard to get them, then by all means, show them off.   And if it's really just a matter of absolutely no body fat to cover those muscles that keep moving with your diaphragm  then by all means just go completely topless.

The only girl in the frame is keeping clear, trying to avoid these border crossing smugglers.   The real view is of the Siskiyou's, and the P2P course.  

And now that the Ashland City Council voted on a nudity ordinance, clothing is not optional, and yes the men really do flaunt their ability to go topless.  

In all actuality, I do feel that hanging leg raises are the best possible all around activity. I mean you get the ab, oblique and hip flexor in the same exercise.  Concentric and eccentric all at the same time.  And I'm into saving time.  I would say 3 for every mile you ran that day would suffice.  Here's the demo.

This guys bears an uncanny resemblance to a very famous ultra-runner, can you guess who?  

Monkeyboy asks: What advice would you give for prospective parents who want to make signs to leave on the WS course such as " Dan O, quads are evil and they must be punished. love, Mom and Dad" when doing exactly what mommy and daddy say could lead you to an extended stay in the Auburn Hospital?

Ah, I love motivational signs.  If for nothing more than the fact that a ton of people smuggle signs into the biggest sporting events in the world rather than trying to smuggle something much more important, like say, BOOZE!  I have always imagined it's not for the players or athletes but rather an attempt to get noticed and on TV.  I mean, I had a crew one year at WS that had my name on their shirts and a cute saying, when if you had seen me that year, it was I that needed a shirt saying who I was so that in the event I ended up on I-80 thumbing some trucker on the way to Winnemucca, they knew I was a lunatic running 100 miles and left me alon.  Of course there are sayings that light the proverbial fire and get one to achieve when the going gets tough.  I mean for Craig, this photo was taken before he got to dusty corners, sheesh.    

Check out the other humiliating, self-deprecating humor on the associated blogs......

Craig Thornley
Megan Arbogast

Friday, April 16, 2010


In 1985 Bob Holtel started quite an adventure as he attempted to run the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail.  He completed this arduous journey over three summers and his adventures spawned the book Soul, Sweat & Survival on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Now, with a rekindled fire of adventure burning in his soles, Bob hopes to once again complete the Pacific Crest Trail over the next two summers ending with a finale in Campo, California on his 80th birthday.

As you can imagine an attempt to complete this trail in such a short time will require detailed logistics and help from lots of good folks.  If you would like to volunteer support for any extent of the trail please click HERE.  More specifically, Bob is presently in need of volunteers for his Southern Oregon leg which is detailed HERE.

Not only will you experience a beautiful trail but undoubtedly you will be saturated with wisdom that only a sage of the PCT such as Bob could bestow.  If you would like to contact Bob directly give him a ring at 310-378-6616.  He would love to talk trail with you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On a Wing and a Pear

It's been hard to tell that springtime has arrived in the Rogue Valley.  Sure the weather was impeccable for all of January, February and March but April has made up for lost time allowing only the skiers friendly refuge.
That's why it was so important to have the Pear Blossom Run marked on our calendars.  The buds on the trees were blossoming in February and have since been pelted with rain and snow.   It was uncanny how most of our training seemed the same.  Having racked up impressive mileage and tested ourselves with races throughout the winter a few of us were feeling downright hesitant and gun shy leading up to our regional rite of spring.     

As with most things, we endure.   

This year's race would usher in a new champion as Max King joined some 700 runners at the American River 50  with the hope of getting an entry into the Western States 100.  Erik Skaggs found himself serving bread at the finish line and cheering for his fitter half out on the course.   That left most of us wondering who would take this years crown.  I imagine it gave a few people hope, but as we headed out of town my eye caught a glimpse of what looked like a Kenyan and that would be the end of the speculation.  However, on the ladies side a fierce battle was being waged as our local favorite proved that her leg speed was not lacking after coming off a recent marathon.

Indeed, the fanfare our Born to Run hero has garnered has not change her humble roots. She has been seen mingling with the regular folk of our area and was even spotted signing a Kindle at the pre-race registration.  With a Sharpie none-the-less.  When asked if I should sign the Kindle, I was met with skepticism,  "Are you in the book?"   Humbling, just humbling.  

As many people wondered upon seeing our hero at the starting line, was this her day to shine. Ultimately, it reminded me of that eighties sitcom with the undeniable theme song, "The Greatest American Hero."

Perhaps it was just Connie Sellecca?

And there were others that had come to enjoy the day in the same fashion, if you will.

As the race developed, it was amazing to see so many familiar faces out there with an improbable number of registrants.  Some 1,800 runners in the 10 miler and another 1,200 in the 5k.  Not to mention a Mayors Mile filled with hundreds of youngsters.  The record setting Ruch School garnering the most participants again this year, congrats coach Stemple!     

There are too many to individually congratulate so I will perpetuate the Mail Tribunes coverage of the Top Ten because, well, I made it.

1 Aron Rono 27 Santa Fe NM 0:49:49
2 Kirby Davis 25 Portland OR 0:50:21
3 Jonathan Marcus 26 Portland OR 0:52:41
4 Damian Baldovino 43 Lakeview OR 0:53:52
5 Dennis Brands 23 Canby OR 0:55:24
6 Scott Becker 26 Medford OR 0:56:35
7 Hal Koerner 34 Ashland OR 0:56:43
8 Neil Olsen 42 Central Point OR 0:56:45
9 Thomas Kreuzpeintner 44 Eugene OR 0:56:4910
10 Justin Loftus 38 Ashland OR 0:57:32

1 Jenn Shelton 26 Ashland OR 0:59:50
2 Kristen Rohde 26 Portland OR 1:00:12
3 Alanna Steinert-Garcia 27 Grants Pass OR 1:01:57
4 Holly Hight 34 Ashland OR 1:03:30
5 Melissa Schweisguth 35 Ashland OR 1:04:30
6 Maggie Donovan 34 Medford OR 1:05:08
7 Mercy Ray 28 Medford OR 1:06:24
8 Ixel Sanchez 24 Ashland OR 1:06:35
9 Bobbi Wright 27 Gold Hill OR 1:07:12
10 Janelle Ralph 28 Gold Hill OR 1:07:21

Seriously, I hope to see many more participants at all the valley races I know you all can run a long way now.   And with that, enjoy the commentary.

Chris Rennaker dukes it out with Eugene's Craig Thornley.  He Shaved his head just for this 10 miler!

Neil Olsen and I head up Hanley Hill with another Eugenian.  Nothing like Devil's Thumb eh Neil.

The look of a champion, and sneaking a look at the champion.

Even a champion sometimes sneaks a look.

John Leuthold running strong, no chip time controversy this year my friend.   

Loftus and Bob have been at it for years, today it was rabbit ears.   

Yes, that is a Pear Monokini, you too can find it here

Even John Mayer knows good fashion and sporting function. 

Jim Carey would never be caught wearing anything but black though. 

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hal runs for Mayor!

Rogue Valley Runners is excited to announce that its very own
Hal Koerner III is in the running to become Ashland's next mayor!

In an effort to "lower health care costs" Hal is campaigning for a tax break for employees that run or bike to work.  When asked if walkers will be included in this tax break, Hal commented, "depends on where they buy their shoes." When asked what he thought about his chances of winning, Hal didn't miss a beat, "the competition is soft and this is a race I'm sure to win."

Hal may seem overly confident, but it is well-founded.  In 2009 Ashland's Chamber of Commerce bequeathed Hal with the "New Business of the Year Award".  And his accolades don't stop there.  Also in 2009, Hal defended his title at the esteemed Western States 100 Mile Endurance, earning himself the first place bronze cougar trophy.  We at RVR believe that Hal cannot rely on his two cougar trophies, but instead the voting power of Ashland's burgeoning cougar population to win him this electoral office.  May the best man win!