Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Western States Synchroblog #2

Alright, so I was a little vague last time we synchroblog'd, if you will, and left a few of you asking, "Why in the world were we subject to so many vulgar pictures."   This blog has not been the most intellectual tool, and it's probably not starting now,  but in the interest of all the folks that made the lottery, or are contemplating entering the lottery someday, or those that have to put up with the aforementioned afflicted  Western States 100 selection committee, we salute you.  Perhaps what I should be saying is, we care enough to answer those questions we had to experience,  the literal growing pains that only stupidity and maybe impossible will allow us to shed light on what it takes to make it through 100 miles.   The best part is, it comes in 4 part harmony;  Meghan, Craig, Andy and myself do it better than The Police.  

BK asks: "How do you take care of your feet in a 100 mile race? Tape, powder, lube, socks, blister care or not, water crossings (sock/shoe changes or not). Toe paint?"

If you are going to defer on a question, it may seem incongruous to gather advice from a man whose feet look like this, but then again incongruous may be what what your looking for.

Fellow Ashlander Bob Holtel (pictured above) turned me on to Fixing Your Feet, by John Vonhof, in the summer of 2008 when my chances of defending at Western States seemed better than me single-handedly putting out the fires on the course that canceled the event.  Now,  I did not set those fires that ravaged half of California, but I did take note of pages 260-265.  If you decide to peruse through the rest of the book you will undoubtedly come away with what takes to open your own specialty running shoe store, and so much so the better.  Seriously though, taking care of your feet involves a few simple principles; removing moisture and reducing friction.   Even if you're Rob Cain and walking the hills means you "ran" Western States in 24 hours and still you end up wearing women's shoes, with inserts, and injinji socks, bodyglide, and baby powder to aviod blisters but to no avail, please follow these simple steps.

1. Keep the feet dry.  Either with baby powder, or spray on benzoin, or some new aerosol bodyglide. If that doesn't work, then slather them up with a hydrophobic lubricant.  2. Wear a technical sock (not cotton) that is articulated with the correct sizing.  Remember, less material is better if you aren't trying to fill in a gaping vacuum in the shoe.  More material will bunch, absorb more moisture taking less time to wick, lose form and cause friction.  3. Wear the proper size shoe.  So often the main problem with blisters is not enough room for foot expansion.  The arch has to flex and elongate with every footfall and the forefoot needs room to splay and absorb shock.  If this movement is hindered, most likely there is material rubbing somewhere, ergo friction and blisters.  

I've tried in the past to change shoes during a hundred, now I primarily concentrate on getting my feet numb first.   That always works better.

Joe Lee asks: "I’m currently training for WS100 2010. I’m kind of weird about the whole pacers and crew thing because I prefer to run alone and I don’t have much use for a crew. I kind of want WS to be virgin territory for my first attempt at it so I’m not planing on training there. I guess my question is: How much time am I going to sacrifice by taking this meathead approach? Is it easy to get lost on this course?"

I have almost exclusively relied on a crew and pacer/s for my 100 mile endeavors.  When I haven't, it has been brought to my attention that a specific course demanded it.   The one time I decided to forgo  assistance and it came back to haunt me was the 2004 Angeles Crest 100 miler. I can still hear Al Valverde at Idlewild, " You're here alone, no pacer, crew?"  What transpired over the next few hours was much more painstaking than the 8 hour car shuttle across Los Angeles the day before. During the final 20 miles I ended up going through 4 flashlights and two teams of competing runners and pacers. I had to follow the light and footsteps of two other runners until I couldn't manage on the terrain.  Eventually I crossed the finish line, with a mail in rebate Duracell flashlight that weighed over 5 pounds, but I learned that some things are a little easier with the help of your friends.  Course knowledge is invaluable, if you don't think so then just look at my times at Western States from 2001 to 2007.  Running 100 miles is about breaking down the distance into manageable parts, if you can relive or "see" those parts then so much so the better.  It's also easy to imagine that 1 minute in excess at each aid station adds up to 20 minutes at the finish line (20 aid stations x 1 minute too long.)   Crews add virility to a struggling runner and confidence to a fleeting one.  My best times have been produced solely so that I might be able to see my main motivator in the next few miles.


I might add that he real pressure is more on the pacer at a 100 than the runner. They aren't supposed to be incoherent, dehydrated, overheated, glassy-eyed, swollen, sleep deprived zombies.   As the saying goes, if you don't see anyone in front of you or behind you, look beside you and that's where you'll find you're friends.     

GG to PHS Runner asks: "Do you think that riding a bicycle, in addition to downhill/heat training would be beneficial? I was thinking about doing a 100mi mountain bike race a few weeks after WS, and that the dual training might be beneficial. Of course, I don't want to break my ribs or a pinky or something like that, where it might hinder my running. But then again, I can a bike without falling down repeatedly- I mean, who can't ride a bike without falling, know what I mean?  Any suggestions you have, would be appreciated."

Firstly and lastly, I am a runner.  I don't bike because just like the question states, it's too dangerous.  Did John Elway ski in the off season just because he lived in Colorado, of course not.  I would suppose it's because he's just not that good at it, and when you can't make $10,000 per minute at something you already can, then you're just not that good at it.

Now I can understand that the Leadville 100 has become more notorious as a bike race ever since some Mellow Johnny decided 7 Tours wasn't enough. And I get that they even acknowledge those crazy folks that decide to ride and run 100 miles on a course over 10,000 feet in elevation less than a week apart as some of the toughest folks on the planet, but if a guy ( who isn't on EPO ) can break the course record finishing on a tire like this, it can't be that hard and more importantly that beneficial to running over the same distance.  I'm just say'n. 

If you have some better questions that the four of us could even come close to answering, please comment on this blog so that we know someone is keeping us honest.  We may just come up with something.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Madness

Sub 4 Club

It was only a few years ago that I exclaimed to Trevor Palmer, a standout miler and 5,000m runner at Southern Oregon University , during our Rogue Valley Relay Challenge, that I was a 16:12 guy.  Now we were running 5k relay legs, but for those of you that know me I rarely run 5k's.  I was talking about 16 hours and 12 minutes, for 100 miles!
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So, this weekend when the racers showed up to the 18th annual Chuckanut 50k all the talk was about going sub 4.  Obviously, we are not talking about the mile, but the illusive 4 hour barrier that only 4 people have gone under in the races history.   The course has changed over the years, but only once significantly and just a few years ago did it undergo a few reroutes that have lengthened the time we have come to know by about 5 minutes (This is Uli Steidl's adjustment, the current course record holder, and if you only knew how esoteric he is about his course records then you will find this the de facto standard.)
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Conditions were perfect for the surreptitious striders. In the 5 years that I have participated in the event I can't say I've seen them any better. The usual muddy stretches were baked dry and only a few puddles remained  while the clouds had parted to reveal beautiful landscapes and lighting on the ridge that I didn't think was possible.
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Erik Skaggs descends into Aid #3

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I think this is Chris Rennaker? Or my mechanic.

Early on Andy Martin , Adam Campbell , and Erik Skaggs laid down a furious pace. Luckily for the chase pack, all of us, their warning was heeded.  It only took 5 miles before the glimpses of their silhouettes became mirages. Having run with Andy and Adam at Transrockies, I couldn't reassure myself or the runners around me that we would be seeing these guys again as so often happens in ultras with rookies. Speedsters that run well on the flats that "come back" to you, later on, as the hills, terrain, and miles take their toll.  I mean Adam is a former member of the Canadian National Duathlon Team and the 2009 Vancouver Marathon champ, while big Andy ran with standouts Uli Steidl and Pete Julian at the University of Portland and is a marathon champion and Olympic trials runner numerous times over.  Erik was primed for his first ultra in months and looked good all year preparing for this event.  I had my money on Erik if he could build enough of a lead over the hilly technical middle section and stave off any attack on flat 6 miles back home.

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This is much steeper than it looks and I was moving much faster too. I must be honest, although my speed was lacking for this event I knew 4 years of running the course had to come in handy somewhere.  However, certain climbs reinforced the pain that I knew was inevitable and perhaps left me struggling for motivation. Luckily, familiar faces on the trail helped to provide that additional spark to keep the legs moving at a decent clip. The long climb up Cleator Rd reminded of training on 2060 and how it was no match to our steep terrain here in Ashland, I kept pushing on.  The infamous Ridge Trail is quintessential NW running, there is nothing like it here to train on, so you have to take it easy because you'll end up spinning your wheels.  Sometimes I can slide or power through technical stuff with my size 12.5 feet but this windy, twisty, rooty, melange was making me look like St Patricks Day revelers exiting a pub.    It wasn't long before I had descended upon the climb to chinscraper.  Where was Erik and how was he doing? Are Chris and Carly running well? Would my legs hold up for this brutal mile? Can you believe this weather? Would anyone catch me here? Would I catch anyone?  All these thoughts were floating in my head, perhaps keeping me floating.  It wasn't until I dove off the top of Chuckanut Mountain and back onto the interurban trail for the final 6 miles that the fun began to happen. It's a lonely, straight, boring path if you get caught in no man's land.  No man's land consists of thoughts, tired legs, an aching back, cramping stomach, all those things keeping you from focusing on a steady pace, and of course, someone to share it with. Joe and I had covered this section in less than 40 minutes just a couple of hours ago, now alone I was struggling to maintain 8 minute pace.  It didn't take long before I had company.  I think Yassine summed it up best on his blog;

I blew through the final aid station and could see me reeling him in a little. I was feeling worked but started digging really deep asking myself "How bad do you want it?" Over the next couple miles I closed a gap and the white dot of his shirt started becoming bigger and bigger. One of the Fairhaven runners coaches told me that he was in range and encouraged me to use my arms to try and catch him. Then on a long straight stretch I could see a black shirted runner in front of Hal! It was Joe! Man...I couldn't believe it! I just held the red-line pace and tried to surge every so often. There were a couple little slight uphill sections that just killed me and then a little single track area that got me out of my groove. Toward mile 30 I realized that I probably ran out of real estate but still continued to hammer it home.

I came into the finish in 6th place in 3:57 just about a minute behind Hal and Joe was just ahead of him. Hal told me he was trying to hold me off and then Joe said he was doing the same to hold off Hal! It was a classic race and I was totally stoked to be up there with the big guns. It was so satisfying to leave it all out there on the course. I had nothing left and that's the way I wanted it.

While 3 runners sat consumed, another battle began to brew.  Erik had tried to hand with Andy on the long downhill stretch from chinscraper but his road speed and a little too much smooth ground proved to fast.  However he did end up jockeying with Adam for 2nd place, passing him with only a mile to go.  Meanwhile Chris stormed to a 4:18 finish just seconds ahead of the first an second place female finishers, I guess all the motivation he needed.  I think I overheard one of them exclaim to him that they thought everyone from Ashland was fast, ouch!

The biggest improvement of the day went to Carly as she wiped 25 minutes off her previous time here although she had to keep an eye on her wedding ring and swollen fingers.  A little more H20 next time!  Full results can be found here.    

Four personal records, not a bad day.  

While the Chuckanut 50k holds steady as the 3rd largest 50k in America with some 300 finishers it still pales in comparison to the 500 plus finishers at the Way too Cool 50k that took place on the 13th of March in Cool, California.  Rogue Valley Runners JC Callans and Shahid Ali skipped out on the fun at the Tar N Trail to run this classic course amidst the mud and foot traffic on one of the biggest days in US Ultrarunning. JC battled with the masters runners all day and ending up running a fast 4:27:32.  Shahid Ali ran a stubborn 6:14:43 just two weeks after the Hagg Lake 50k, and can be seen here rallying for a higher finishing position.  Way to dig deep!      

While it may have been the end of February, were still going to congratulate Ben Benjamin on his run at the LOST 118.  Many of you may remember the odd weather in Florida as record freezing temps rivaled those at the Winter Olympic Games being held in Vancouver, B.C.   The 118 mile scenic trail that circumnavigates Lake Okechobee in central Florida is a mix of asphalt and trail and played host for this unique fourth annual footrace.   Ben covered 106 miles of the trail and I haven't heard how many alligators he had to dodge during those miles.  Way to represent Oregon Ben!

Now that's an ultra starting line. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tar N Trail, DY-NO-MITE!


The 3rd annual TNT 6 mile run was held this past weekend, March 13th 2010, and like clockwork some 170 runners took in a little bit of trail, road, mud, snow, sunshine all while having a, well, blast.   

What many have come to know as one of the most daunting and intimidating trail races in the valley is rightfully deserved.  The payoff however, is the chance to test ready legs and lungs amidst the backdrops of Lithia and Strawberry-Hald Parks.  You have ups and downs, trail and road, dirt and harder stuff,  uneven and, yes, uneven, fast and not-so-fast.  A little for everyone.  The route allows runners to bend but not break, the ultimate test of a good race.   

Now the TNT may not be for everyone, and the 1,000 + feet of accumulated elevation gain can bring out the worst in all of us, but it was encouraging to see so many young runners on the hills seemingly enjoying themselves.  They get the bulk of the pictures, why, because there weren't any complaints among them.    

Tim Julian and Jeff Olsen race early.

   Lela Stemple is thankful she hits the Ashland trails on the weekends, Fridays too. 

Thumbs up from Ian Fralich, that's what we like to see.

Perhaps a first visit to the Granite St. quarry? 

More comfortable on the Shakespeare Stage Renee?   

Tara Parks is all smiles!

There was a little snow hiding from the sun on Strawberry.

Madi and Megan Kim have the best view in town. Congrats girls!

Here are the vital race statistics, an amazing 172 finishers!   This is our biggest race and I believe it will contiune to grow. A very big thank you to all our volunteers, our race sponsors ( Sporthill and Columbia) and to you for helping support the Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association.  

1 Tim Julian  M 39 37:05:00
2 Jeff Olsen M 25 38:32:00
3 Robert Julian M 41 39:03:00
4 Wilder Schaff M 17 40:56:00
5 Paul Schwarzer M 18 40:57:00
6 Aaron Luksich M 33 41:37:00
7 Sam Jackson M 17 43:15:00
8 Ben Jackson M 17 43:18:00
9 Kevin Kocarek M 35 43:22:00
10 Corbyn Jahn M 18 43:44:00
11 Gerald Davis M 19 43:48:00
12 Blake Spencer M 15 44:09:00
13 C.B. Fralich M 37 44:37:00
14 Scott Stemple M 44 44:41:00
15 Eric Dinger M 36 44:50:00
16 Richard Carter M 24 44:56:00
17 Chad Elbert M 38 45:14:00
18 Jeff Olson M 40 45:18:00
19 Sarah Vaile F 32 45:20:00
20 Stephen Staha M 30 45:29:00
21 Issac Schaaf M 16 45:41:00
22 Michael Sotos M 34 45:46:00
23 Scott Salsbury M 41 46:14:00
24 Jeremy Eisen M 39 46:47:00
25 Colin Haug M 17 46:58:00
26 Maria Clementi F 28 47:12:00
27 Camelia Mayfield F 17 47:26:00
28 Camden Stemple M 14 47:26:00
29 Jon Theiring M 35 47:34:00
30 Brad Noyes M 34 47:35:00
31 Bradley Whelden M 33 47:36:00
32 Laura Raber F 31 47:44:00
33 Jonah Freedmann M 15 47:50:00
34 Erin Federline F 34 47:54:00
35 Joy Isbell F 25 48:12:00
36 Jamie Arvizo F 31 48:26:00
37 Tyrone Raber M 32 48:28:00
38 Joseph Vaile M 35 48:32:00
39 Ian Chachere M 26 48:56:00
40 Darien Thompson M 15 49:04:00
41 Adrian Dorris M 36 49:14:00
42 Tristen Edward M 14 49:16:00
43 Becky Hacker F 39 49:36:00
44 Lela Stemple F 12 49:47:00
45 Chuck Whitley M 52 49:51:00
46 Felicia Hazel F 46 51:04:00
47 Hannah Ewing F 17 51:22:00
48 Jacob Lowe M 13 51:41:00
49 Travis Slack M 13 51:42:00
50 Annie Crispino-Taylor F 52 51:44:00
51 John Bott M 51 51:44:00
52 Alex Kiesling F 15 52:31:00
53 Marshall Miller
15 52:31:00
54 Cliff Stein M 47 52:52:00
55 Pam Downs F 40 52:52:00
56 Tom Ahle M 60 53:26:00
57 Brian Sheadel M 42 53:27:00
58 Santiago Requejo M 31 53:28:00
59 Mark Smith M 46 53:46:00
60 Kasey Acker F 51 54:10:00
61 Jason Herron M 31 54:24:00
62 Duane Whitcomb M 44 54:30:00
63 Chris Combs M 31 54:31:00
64 Molly Gramley F 43 54:48:00
65 Heidi Paine F 37 54:49:00
66 Chuck Dungan M 38 55:10:00
67 Aysha Staha F 31 55:17:00
68 Jeff Haug M 41 55:23:00
69 Rene Millan M 37 55:27:00
70 Terry Faulkner M 58 55:30:00
71 Stephen Meador M 20 55:44:00
72 Maggie Milligan F 26 55:55:00
73 Lydia Zowada F 17 55:59:00
74 Ron Lopez M 42 56:01:00
75 Tess Wipfli F 24 56:02:00
76 Megan Mortimer-Lamb F 16 56:03:00
77 Isobel Whitcombs F 14 56:04:00
78 Jeff Stone M 54 56:11:00
79 Cameron Budd M 17 56:13:00
80 Shelia Jarvis F 47 56:27:00
81 Arnie Abrams M 56 56:40:00
82 Ian Fralich M 8 56:52:00
83 Mary Rogan F 44 57:07:00
84 Mike Rogan M 50 57:08:00
85 Josh Mak M 20 57:30:00
86 Derek Budd M 51 57:33:00
87 Dusty Miller M 62 57:40:00
88 Susannah Flood F 27 57:41:00
89 Gine Pisasale F 34 57:54:00
90 Mike Pisasale M 31 57:55:00
91 Andrea Scherrer F 15 57:58:00
92 Dana Greenblatt F 15 57:59:00
93 Stella Russell F 41 58:40:00
94 Zack Fralich M 10 58:46:00
95 Kate Hurster F 28 59:42:00
96 Christian Barillas M 30 59:48:00
97 Geremiah Hill M 12 59:56:00
98 Rich Martin M 34 59:57:00
99 Tony Bertel M 24 1:00
100 Elijah Cosand M 10 1:00:02
101 Sarah Britting F 17 1:00:52
102 Lyric Randall F 17 1:01:14
103 Quinn Randall M 11 1:01:14
104 Lisa Schmon F 32 1:01:16
105 Allison Kling F 54 1:01:17
106 Laura Luksich F 30 1:01:37
107 Lisa Cochran F 42 1:02:04
108 Tara Parks F 27 1:02:05
109 Thomas Bischoff M 63 1:02:40
110 Brooke Parks F 28 1:02:51
111 Tom Prescott M 40 1:03:07
112 Scott Pedersen M 49 1:03:33
113 Carol Lampert F 41 1:03:48
114 Helen Whitcombs F 45 1:03:56
115 Dave Noyes M 59 1:03:58
116 Rachel Richmond F 41 1:04:49
117 Kirsten Winters F 35 1:04:59
118 George Wood M 45 1:05:16
119 Maisie Fralich F 12 1:05:18
120 Kate Bridges F 29 1:05:47
121 Gina Loraine F 40 1:05:48
122 Shannon McKibben F 43 1:05:49
123 Katie Stumpff F 30 1:05:50
124 Monique Noyes F 34 1:05:51
125 Kim Budd F 48 1:05:52
126 Alex Anderson M 11 1:06:16
127 Maegen Hill F 14 1:06:17
128 Kelleen Woodward F 32 1:06:19
129 Tracy Justice F 42 1:07:04
130 Larry Zowada M 59 1:07:21
131 Willa Lindberger Schull F 15 1:07:25
132 Kelly Lange F 32 1:07:36
133 Shelbie McTevia-Jones F 34 1:07:47
134 Caron Sheehan F 40 1:07:48
135 Mary Abrams F 57 1:08:01
136 Julie Peterson F 54 1:08:02
137 Angela Decker F 39 1:08:34
138 Sarah Strickler F 31 1:08:39
139 Linda Murphy F 60 1:08:41
140 Susan Chenoweth F 55 1:09:14
141 Diane Green F 53 1:09:17
142 Pamela Opper F 24 1:09:21
143 Jessica Pidgeon F 27 1:10:13
144 Douglas Chenoweth M 57 1:11:46
145 Sarah Richmond F 13 1:11:47
146 Mike Richmond M 51 1:12:32
147 Nancy Bester F 42 1:12:33
148 Amy Cuddy F 48 1:12:49
149 Beth Martin F 28 1:13:12
150 Dominique Sukles F 43 1:13:25
151 Leilani Sukles F 11 1:13:25
152 Kara Stemple F 41 1:13:44
153 Shannon Mitts F 26 1:14:47
154 Renae Noyes F 57 1:14:56
155 Dennis Glass M 57 1:14:57
156 Kathy Wolfe F 54 1:15:09
157 Steve Lamoe M 60 1:15:57
158 Chris Lamoe M 28 1:15:57
159 Norman Shaskey M 62 1:16:32
160 Michael Meemagham M 38 1:18:10
161 Natalie Evans F 28 1:18:23
162 Ryan Evans M 28 1:18:23
163 Nikki Elbert F 36 1:18:32
164 Madi Kim F 9 1:21:48
165 Megan Kim F 11 1:21:49
166 Jan Summers F 58 1:21:57
167 Gene Keppler M 55 1:22:36
168 Jennifer Donahue M 42 1:26:20
169 Lily Wilson F 13 1:29:17
170 Scott Wilson M 44 1:29:18
171 Jana Cardle F 52 1:29:55
172 Torrin Aker M 11       early start

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Western States 100 Synchroblog

Initially, I thought this was going to be a good idea.  I didn't know that the "good fellas" in and around the "yooj"  had a such a stranglehold on our moderator.  So in addition to the number of questions ultra runners in the aforementioned track town have, I'll get to answering your queries.   

Mr CPK asks: "I know friend who is a very good marathon runner but ended up in the hospital after his first WS due to rhabdomyolysis. I'm running my first WS this year and wondering what I need to do to keep this from happening to me?"

I'd start by not eating so many rhododendrons.  I believe goatee's should be shaved as well before competing in an ultra.  If that cannot be done, then more drastic measures should be taken to avoid such catastrophic results.   

Since Rhododendrons are found almost everywhere but dry areas, I suggest spending a lot of time there.  I think it is imperative for one to get the body used to flushing out toxins while performing other tasks necessary to keep kidneys filtering while traveling a 100 miles.  Saunas are excellent for mimicking heat and stabilizing the bodies electrolyte levels. Over time, usually 6 weeks, the amount of sodium loss for those exposed to extreme heat begins to drop substantially. This is because the cortex of the adrenal glands secretes more of the hormone aldosterone, which causes the sweat glands to reabsorb sodium from the kidneys before the sweat is released through the skin.   This just eliminates one more kidney clogging factor.  I am no doctor, but excessive amounts of protein can also stymie the kidney's, but what the heck, you've got two and this guy only has one.  

He also went to school in Arizona, hot and dry so there are no guarantees, and is an NBA champion.

The most influential factor I would imagine for limiting muscle damage and strain is to parallel your training surface and conditions as much as possible to that which you will be running on race day. If you live Idaho where the trails are paved with roses for all the movie stars and you constantly are encouraging yourself because you work with kids and that's all you know how to do even when the results and standards are sub par, then you really need a gut check.  You might not even know you'll end up looking like this guy.  


What I am really getting at is you have to prepare yourself for the conditions you will be facing when you are racing and running your hardest.  I wouldn't want to train for a road marathon by running the nice cushy, steep trails of say Ashland, OR.  I would test my legs on the pavement for hours on end so they would be hardened, ah what am I saying, I would never do that.  What I would do however is find suitable sustained downhills that would strengthen my quads for hours.  I typically run for an hour downhill, and I mean downhill for an hour, each day for two months leading up to WS.  I have been know to hit the weight room to work on eccentric quad extensions. Holding the weight til fatigue and repeating with more weight.  Again, the best offense is a good defense and when competing in something as daunting as a 100 miler, everything has to go as planned. 

If all else fails, then you should run behind this or you just might end up looking like this ; 
Chubster asks: "I run a bunch of ultras, 100 milers are my favorite. I am usually in the top five, top ten if it is super competitive.  Even  with all the training, I have elevated love handles. I don't mean a little elevated, I'm talking waaay higher. What can I do?

This certainly sounds like a self image issue to me.  The self image creates an emotional set point in terms of body image and the belief in one's power to regulate body weight.  Boiled down however, it really translates to low-self esteem.  First things first, I would say it's time to start winning a few of theses ultras.  I might even suggest picking a few of the easier ones on the circuit that you know might coincide with other more prominent ones that better participants will be at. It's, ok, to run your own events sometimes where no one else shows up but you, and you know of a cool course where you cam run an ultra distance and, "win it." Perhaps you might even travel to regions of the country that you know are "soft" with competition and participation.  I mean, I've been told before that the only reason I win ultras is because I am financially able to do so.    

As a last resort one might consider running in this as I'm sure it also aids in prolonged postural positioning;

Wouldn't you agree Meghan?