Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 Bear 100

Brandi, Matt and I had a great time at the Bear 100 this weekend.  It is a fine race with a well earned reputation for being tough, adventurous and full of heart.  I got most of what I wanted from the event and left satisfied and smiling.  I ran a pretty good run, maybe what some may call a great run.  However, I know this was not my Sistine Chapel.  I have much more to give.  I feel happy and pretty healthy as I write this, with just some tightness in my hip flexors and calves.  My energy is pretty solid and I'm actually plotting on some more ultra missions.  I even went hunting yesterday.  I'm going to Aeropress me another cup of blonde roast.  You should do the same, then settle in because I have a bit* of a tale to tell.
(* means like an hour of boring reading about running.  I did the running, I can make it as long as I want.  Let the dog have his day).



The Bear.  That's what an elevation profile should look like.  The course goes from Logan, Utah to Bear Lake, Idaho.  
My year in review
Not really the year I had been planning.  I ran 1300 miles from January to May, then only 700 miles from June to September.  You read that right- 700 miles in 4 months (40 miles/wk).  I would be surprised if anyone in the 300 person Bear 100 field had run less than that. The problem was some sort of systemic crash after the scalding I got at Western States.  I was wracked with dizziness and heavy legs, sore shins, headaches, back pain and low motivation.  This lasted almost 2 months.  I think it was over-training. Not from an absolute volume/intensity limit perspective, but in light of how my body fails to adapt in the early season- it was just too much.  I stayed patient and allowed the healing and mental cleansing of time to work its magic.  I knew the fall was my wheelhouse and I believed the hard work I had put in this spring would show up when I rested.

Besides actual running, I directed two races which required lots of hiking, trail work with heavy tools and chainsawing and time in the mountains.  This kept me fit while the time passed.  I was pretty sad to miss most of the prime mountain running season in McCall, but I listened to my body and prevented any further damage.  By late August, things were feeling "right."  I marked the IMTUF 100 course- logging several 20+ mile days in succession.  Then, I had a decision to make: How would I choose to spend my energies?  I had waited a full year for this feeling to come along again and I did not want to waste it.  100 milers only get so many bites at the apple.  Only so many matches to burn.

My first thought was...I want piles of cash!!!!  Run Rabbit Run had always been tempting with its 5 figure winners take, and top competition.
The SpeedGoat with his winnings after another Run Rabbit Run windfall.
However, there were a few missing ingredients.  I was still tired from putting on IMTUF and more importantly, I just couldn't get into the RRR100 course.  Plus, I just couldn't stop thinking about the Bear.  I thought about the pedigree of the past winners and reasoned...If it's good enough for Koerner, Meltzer, Roes, Foote and Kollar...then it must be good enough for me too.  I went to Wasatch Front 100 to pace Nick Clark to victory, then I headed up to Logan to check out the course.  After one quick run up the opening hill, I called Brandi and told her to sign me up before this thing sells out.  The race is on September 27 and 28.  928...my lucky number.  My Mothers Birthday, the Old Man's bootcamp number, his lucky pick 3 lottery number.  Ever notice the full name of my blog- 928? Run the race on 927 and celebrate on 928. Sounds perfect.

I ended up running over 50 miles of the course over those few days in early September.  I had a great time in spectacular weather. More importantly, I gained lots of course knowledge, that I feel I would not have been able to finish the race without.  I went home, went hunting and did not go for a "run" for 17 days until race day came. However, the hunting time I put in was definitely the capstone of my fall fitness.  It put a sharpness and efficiency in my mind and body that allowed me to toe the line ready to take it out hard.

My pre-race strategy
I'm a climber.  I planned to run every step of every hill, finding a grinding rhythm on the ups to build gaps on the peleton/GOAT.  After my training runs on the course, I felt that a 10 minute mile average was possible (16hrs 40 mins), but set my sights on trying to go under 17 hours, allowing for some low points during the race.  This would break the course record of 17:50, set by Chris Kollar last year.  I felt his run in 2012 was THE ultra running performance of the year.  I was about to find out if I could measure up.

As race week approached, I stopped hunting and started resting.  The week before the race, I did nothing.  I had an achy tightness in my left calf, so I just rested.  I got some excellent massage work done by Katrina at Personalized Healing.  I break it, she fixes it.  Another blow to my time goal came when I saw the forecast.  Snow, rain and cold descended from Canada and made the course a quagmire of snow and mud.
Ready or not, one minute to start.
Logan to Temple Fork (Miles 0-45)
I floated up the first couple miles of the opening hill.  You run up a fairly steep hill gaining 4000+ feet in the first 10 miles.  I built an early lead of several minutes and felt fine.  Towards the top was a good bit of snow and sloppy mud, with sleety rain blowing sideways at times.  After the opening single track trail, you take an ATV road up to the first aid station at mile 10.4.  I could not find any markers on this section at the many junctions of the ATV roads.  I stopped several times to check out the options, but I guessed correctly each time and made way to 10.4 (Logan Peak) aid without any real additional distance added- just some standing around mostly.  I told the aid station people about my concerns and headed along the forest roads descending toward Leatham Hollow.  More junctions, no markers...my mood was sowering quickly.  I recalled that you needed to go left to reach Leatham Hollow aid, so I took a left on an unmarked ATV road.  I went a few minutes and instinct told me I was off route.  I ran back up the hill at top speed.  I guess I picked the correct way, because at the real junction, I encountered a woman marking the course- headed my way.  If she had not been there at the turn, I would have kept going, because the turn is obscure.  That probably would have ended my race.  I expressed my concerns, thanked her for marking that turn and headed down the smooth singletrack to Leatham Hollow aid (mile 20).  My mood was very low here due to concerns about the markings, and lots of fatigue and pain in my hip flexors and frozen feet.  My feet were entombed in an extra pound of frozen mud and would stay that way pretty much all day.  The hip flexors ached from the extra weight of lifting the feet up.

At Leatham, I wined to whoever could hear me to get someone out ahead of me and mark the course.  I had never been on the course from mile 11 to 61, so I was scared I would not find my way.  Brandi and Matt refilled my bottle and VFuel flask and I rolled out.  I saw my good friend Kelly Lance as I exited, which gave me a lift.  There are a few miles of Forest Road leading up to the next big climb up Richards Canyon.  My low energy continued.  Lots of mud in here slowed me and made me wonder if this thing was going to do me in.
This is probably me wining about course markings at Leatham Hollow.
Still wining at Cowley Canyon.  That pointed finger shows that I meant business!  I bet all these people are wondering why I don't just shut up and run.  They were right.  But where do I run?

Pretty low energy at Temple Fork.  It was good to see Derek Call there.  It was not good to see Karl coming in as I exited. 
Here he comes.  Looking a lot better than me.
I made the top and descended Cowley Aid (30), then Right Hand (37), then Temple Fork (45).  I managed to stay on course through these parts.  However, my running was really suffering.  The hip flexor was tightening and the Speedgoat himself, Karl Meltzer was tightening my gap to under 2 minutes.  I had a long stretch where I was sure he would pass me and I was unsure if I had what it took to finish.
I don't think Karl even knows who I am, but I have some history with him.  Last November, I blew myself up at Pinhoti 100 in Alabama, trying to get his course record (report).  Then, at Bandera 100k in Texas in January, I ripped my calf muscle and watched him bounce away in the mud.  At Western States, during my Cal Street meltdown, he pulled in and out of Fords Bar aid while I sat on a bag of ice, delirious.  Yeah, I knew him pretty well.  We hung out and drank beers together at Wasatch a few weeks ago.  I like him.  But I had been "goat-roped" a few too many times.

Temple Fork to Beaver Mountain Yurt (Miles 45-75)

After Temple Fork, some big things happened that changed my day.  I told myself that I was going to run all the way up the 6 mile/3000+ foot hill to Tony Grove aid at mile 52.  This should rebuild my lead and confidence heading into the second half of the race.  I started up the hill, ready to take a stand and make the race mine.  The problem was...there were cattle blocking the trail.  Hundreds of them.  They wanted to walk, not run.  I Screamed and threw mud at them, trying desperately to get them to move.  The mud here was several inches deep and it stuck to the shoes adding POUNDS of weight to the soles.  The entire length of this hill was covered in this mud.  After a mile or so of walking 20+ minute pace, I had enough.  I ran up to the closest cow, slapped her in the rump roast and roared to get out of the way.  She kicked me.  Her hoof hit my forearm and glanced off, striking my bottle covering my ribs.  Without my Ultimate Direction AK pack and little bottle over my ribs- that might have been it for me.  The mother cow began bucking and moo-ing and started a stampede up the trail.  I was still behind them another mile or so, but at least they were running some. Then, mercifully, they raced off the trail at a small meadow and let me pass.  I came back to life and ran up the hill really well- given the mud and snow at the top.  I descended to Tony Grove (mile 52) on a big emotional HIGH.  I could not believe I did not get passed in this section. I was ready to attack the second half.  From that point, I knew I would do whatever it took to win.
They should change the name from "the Bear 100" to"the Beef 100"
Tony Grove and the surrounding mountains are the highlight of the race in my opinion.
I was quick in and out of Tony Grove and ready to attack the climb above.  I would later learn that Karl was only 8 minutes back at the aid, but I would stretch that lead out in the push to Franklin Basin.  I climbed up from Tony Grove Lake and the snow reached its deepest covering of the day.  I was breaking trail in a good 4-6 inch snow pack.  For the first time in a while I was having trouble with the markers again.  Maybe they were under the snow?  I shrugged it off and ran solid here.  I descended down to Franklin Basin (Mile 61) and picked up Matty Tock for some pacing duty.

Coming in to Franklin Basin with Leland the RD trying to stay ahead of me with the markings.   I really like Leland.  He puts lots of heart into this race and it shows.
I was happy to know that I had previously ran the course from this point on to the finish.  This was going to prove absolutely critical.  As we left Franklin, game trails connect you up to Steam Mill Canyon for a nice muddy climb.  Leland Barker (the Race Director) was trying to stay ahead of us with the markers.  The first mile is sketchy cow paths and I stayed behind him so he could show us the way while he placed some markers.  When we hit the main trail, we passed him and headed off into unmarked territory.  I remembered the key turn a few miles up and we did this section without incident.  As we side-hilled over Hell's Kitchen Pass, some elk traversed the slope above.  That section was very tricky with the sloping traverse on the clay mud.  We were still cranking.

We got some quick aid and crossed the river at the Logan River Aid, then headed up Peterson Hollow.  This gentle climb is really pleasant when not muddy- today, not so much.  We did what we could to keep a running rhythm to the top, passed a big herd of elk and reached the pass above Beaver Mountain Resort Aid.  Energy was solid, we were moving well...but we couldn't find the trail.   I had the same problem here while previewing the course.  The faint trail in the sage brush turns into many faint game trails and somehow you have to descend to the ski resort.  We wandered the sage brush for several minutes until we found a ribbon in the woods.  I think this section might have had the small reflectors, but those are not much help in the daylight.  We found the trail and descended really well, then hit the road for the short climb up to the yurt at mile 75.

Finishing it off: Beaver Mountain to Bear Lake (Miles 75-100)
I grabbed a light, had some Vespa and Ensure, then headed out alone.  Matt would rejoin me at mile 85 after some food and warming.  Poor Matty is still feeling his IMTUF 100 finish.  I guess a couple of times you have to step over a rock or a stick on the IMTUF course and there is a hill you have to climb at some point, so his legs are still sore.  Whatever dude;)  I'm headed for Idaho.
I let Matty rest up while I climbed the slope at a good clip up to Mile 81.5 at Gibson Basin.  Along the way it got dark, I crossed into Idaho and it got wicked cold.  Idaho cold.  The Basin was pretty much like Hoth in Star Wars- windy and hellish.  I got up there without a sip of water or bite of food, so I slipped right on past the aid station with their roaring fire and party they were having.  "121 in, 121 out."  "Hey 121, don't you need anything?"  They looked at me like the freak that I was.  Like the Wampa monster on Hoth, covered in mud and ice...who consumed no food or water, just more mud and ice and Jedi's.
That's me in Gibson Basin with my new tats.
It felt good to run on the 1.2 miles of flat ground in the Basin, so I leaned into the wind and ran really hard.  I was only able to muster a 10 minute mile pace due to the headwind, but it was fun to use some other running muscles other than those used in climbing in descending.  There was lots of snow up there, which made the descent over the rocky ATV trail into the Beaver Creek Aid (mile 85) slow going.  Closer to the bottom of the hill, the snow turned to mud.  Same pattern as the rest of the day.
I picked up Matty at 85, drank an Ensure, took another for the road and an extra Vespa Junior.  From here on out, I did not drink or carry any water- only Ensure and Vespa.  That is one nice thing about cool weather, I never carried more than 16 oz of water all day.  Still, I was a bit over-hydrated at times and had to go frequently.  I saw so many people carrying these huge water packs.  I find that quite dangerous in the cool weather.  Hyponatremia is easier to acquire than most would think.  Even slight over-hydration results in an exhausted feeling that most would just chalk up to being tired.  Put the water down, eat more gels and you will feel great.
Matty and I ran all of the 3-4 mile hill up to High Top, which was snowy and slick at the top, near 9000'.  I knew there was only one more hill to climb- the Ranger Dip.  We launched into the descent off High Top.  It was a windy ground blizzard up there.  While running here a few weeks ago, I had paid special attention to the confusing turn that we had to make to get to the Ranger Dip Aid Station.  This is the "Nick Pedatella" turn that cost him lots of time when hunters removed the markings in 2011.  I knew we had to make a left and climb a short hill on a dirt road.  When we got to where I suspected the turn was, the road was buried under snow and we saw no markers.  We stopped a few minutes and looked around.  A series of long orange poles with reflectors went down hill- urging us to follow them down.  We saw nothing on the uphill.  Was this the turn, or was it a little lower?  I went down the hill a half mile or so, while Matt looked around up the hill.  I heard him yelling that he had found something, so I bushwhacked my way back up there- ripping my shins apart in the frozen sagebrush.  He found a small reflector, attached to one of the large orange poles, which had a much larger road reflector.  No ribbons, no other confidence markings, just one tiny reflector.  Good enough, we went up the hill.  We had lost several minutes, but we just kept rolling without any stress or drama.  This is supposed to be fun, right?  I had no idea that I was still close to the course record and I had no watch, so we just focused on running well and making a good memory out there.
I pushed the pace hard and pulled away from Matty going into Ranger Dip Aid (Mile 92.5).  I felt fine and was ready to take on the last hill.  Matt was jumping out here, so I would be solo to the finish.  No one mentioned anything about a course record, so I figured I was way off and should just focus on finishing safely.  More Vespa and Ensure and I was out.
Brandi and Matt ran a tight ship all day and night.  This shows everything one needs: SCOTT shoes, VESPA, VFUEL Flask, Ensure, Coke and Chicken Broth. You don't need that chair.  Beware the chair!  That's the Adam Wilcox chair from IMTUF.  It is meant to sit in after races only.
I had planned to run the Ranger Dip uphill.  It's less than a mile and only 600' of vertical.  However, this was not possible.  It had been ATV'ed by hunters all day, leaving only a packed ice track that I could barely walk up without crampons. I had to kick the edges of my Kinabalu's into the crud to get purchase for every step.  This is definitely the steepest hill on the course and tops out at around 9100'.  I hiked it well and was soon looking forward to bombing the descent.  Well, the bombing never happened.  It was so iced up that I barely shuffled along desperately trying not to lose control of my speed.  This downhill is a real test of strength on fresh legs and good conditions.  Today, it was just brutal.  It keeps going for so long after you think you are near the bottom.  I stopped to pee...something I never do in a race...ewwwwww.  I thought about my year and how you never know how things will work out.  I felt like I had put up a good effort out there, but kept plenty in reserve.  I looked forward to getting back on the hunt as soon as my legs would allow.  I thought of the Old Man and how it was probably 928 already (it wasn't).  I shuffled along, trying to enjoy myself and finally reached the last little climb up to the Water Tank.  It's only 100 feet up, but it is hard after crushing your quads on the past 4 miles- not to mention the rest of the day.  One last little downhill and you reach the Fish Haven Canyon dirt road and it's 1.4 miles to the finish.
I had set a goal of 9 minutes for this stretch.  I had no watch, so I have no idea if I made it.  Probably not.  I watched several sets of eyes on the road get closer and closer.  I thought maybe a pacer team was coming for me with beer and chocolate.  Nope, just some raccoons.  Keep rollin'.  Johnny Cash sang to me as I went..."There ain't no grave...can hold my body down."Usually at this point, I get emotional.  This time, I kept it cool. I couldn't really think of anything profound to ponder.  Just an Idaho "Idiot" running through the night.
The Old Man often referred to runners affectionately as "Idiots."  Himself included.  The worse the weather, or more deplorable the conditions, the more Idiotic they were.  To be an Idiot one needed the gumption to be out there breaking the mold, enjoying what the average person would find repulsive.  I hope he would find my run to be Idiot worthy.  Here, I get a hug from my fellow Idiot Matty.  
I rounded the corner at Gladys's and sprint/staggered into the finish at the white fence.  I figured I had been running about 19 hours.  Pretty good for the conditions, I thought.  I crossed the line in 17:56- just 6 minutes over the course record.  I'll take it.  I went to the hot tent to warm up and as usual, the chills hit me and I shook violently.  This seems to happen no matter how hot or cold my race is.  I shook so violently that I threw up my Ranger Dip Ensure, plus a bunch of other poisonous stuff.  There were some Petzl rep guys there and I made sure they respected the volume, projection and intensity of the hurlage.
New slogan..."Petzl Nao Headlamps- when you must run so hard in the dark, that you make yourself sick."  I have no affiliation with Petzl, but that Nao is a real game-changer.  Expensive, but worth every penny.

"Pain R. Good" the Old Man would say.  I got my fill out there.
It was 928, so it was time to celebrate.  I congratulated Karl after his finish and thanked him for scaring me and pushing me when I wanted to pack it in.  He just raced a few weeks ago and I am lucky he was softened up a bit to let me take the win.  I admire his professionalism and it is an honor to even line up with him.  How many athletes get to pitch to Babe Ruth, tackle Walter Payton, or guard Michael Jordan?  That's what I did all day with the Speedgoat.  It is a pretty cool sport we suffer- I mean play.
I started off my 928 with a sleepless night in the tent and a day filled with fevers, chills and limping.  I got my appetite back and managed to eat about 7 meals over the course of the day.  There were turkey burgers, salads, shrimp, turkey burgers, trout (Leland's Trout Farm Trout???) and burgers with turkey.  Everything was great.  I had the pleasure of meeting Errol "The Rocket".  That guy is money.  I also met the women's winner Bethany Lewis- who absolutely crushed the course record by over an hour.  The finish area was warm and sunny and we lounged around all day, cheering on everyone to the finish line.  Big props to the Boise crew for everyone finishing- Ryan "Constant Improvement" Anderson, Emily "2012 IMTUF CHAMP" Berriochoa (thanks for believing in me!) and Sam "the Spider" Collier.  I napped a few times and soon it was 6pm and time for awards.
Michelle Lance gets a big hug from her husband Kelly after her first 100 mile finish.  Great work.

Best trophy I've ever seen.  Smokin hot trophy wife!
The plaque wasn't bad either.  Hand made by Leland.  I also got another nice plaque with my name and time on it and even a bit of foldin' money.  I was a very happy boy.
Obligatory Bear Lake shot with the gang to keep me from falling over. 
Matty's big new cell phone.  Hello?  Hello?  In the rush to pack up, he packed it into his tent and sleeping bag.  We were all a bit tired.
That night, we had dinner with the Lance Family in Garden City and got a decent night of sleep at the KOA there.  It was a long drive home, but we stopped by the Sushi Ya for ALL YOU CAN EAT sushi in Logan.  I made sure they lost money on that deal.  For $13.95, I ate what would have cost over $100 anywhere else. It was fresh and excellently prepared.  This was another piece of intel I picked up from my recon a few weeks ago in Logan.  Sushi Ya is legit!  I showed the fish who was boss. This is how it went down.

What's Next?
Hunting season kicks back off next week and I will be out there.  I am actively looking for another race to round out the year.  I will rest and rehab a few weeks, then ramp it up one more time.  Throw in some more hunting and cutting 4 cords of firewood and I will be ready to go.  Already snow is blanketing the mountains and the trails are becoming un-passable.  This is the reality of the McCall runner's life.  Blink and it's gone.

 My eyes are open and I'm hungry for more.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Jer
928

My Gear and Nutrition for the Bear 100.  
I would like to thank my sponsors SCOTT-Sports, VFUEL and VESPA for their continued belief in me.  I know I am erratic, but if you stick with me- every once in a while you will get a good one.  Someday...a MOONSHOT!  Your continued support means the world to me.

Shoes: SCOTT T2 KINNABALU.  Only the best goes on my feet.  This sport is too nasty to skimp here.
Gel: VFUEL.  I used a flask to avoid messing with gel wrappers with my gloves on.  I tested a new lemon/lime prototype flavor.  Good...but not as good as Peach Cobbler flavor.
Vespa: Every 2 hours I popped an Ultra Concentrate, with some Vespa Juniors towards the end.  The last few hours I took no water, just Juniors as my hydration.  It worked.  Peter Defty at VESPA has the answers...look to the podiums of these big races for the runners smart enough to ask the right questions.
Pack: Ultimate Direction AK.  Never raced with a pack before and it was great.  Can I join the team now Buzz?
Knickers: Scott eRide Knickers.  Lifts and shapes.  Decent pockets.
Shirt: 2012 IMTUF 100 Long Sleeve race shirt.  Best race shirt ever designed.
Socks: Drymax Lite-Trail Socks.  I don't usually wear this heavy of a sock, but I liked the extra warmth.
Gloves: Critical gear choice today.  I had light, grippy gloves on early, but my hands were not working well enough.  So, I went to a pair of mountaineering mittens my Old Man bought me in 1998.  They are light Gore Windstopper fleece and have a fold-back flap to expose the fingers.  With these, my fingers stayed warm.  If they got too hot or I needed to use them to eat, I folded it back.  Thanks, Dad.
Hydration: One Amphipod 12 or 16 oz bottle.  I drank maybe 8-10 oz of water an hour, sometimes none.  Only to thirst, no more.  Thanks Dr. Noakes.
Other Foods/Drinks: Lots of Ensure, broth, a few Cokes, 2 caffeine pills (miles 47 and 92), an energy bar or 2 when I felt empty.  4 (total) endurolytes capsules when my stomach was sloshy.  I would guess 300-400 cals per hour early on- then less than 200 later.
Breakfast Pre-Race: 2 hours pre-race- 2 hard boiled eggs smashed into a little oatmeal and a whole avocado.  Ensure, Coffee and Vespa Junior.  Vespa Ultra Concentrate 15 minutes pre-start.  1 VFUEL Gel a minute before go time.  No food for a while after the race starts to get that stuff burning.
Ipod- Key songs: Kenny Wayne Sheppard (Blue on Black), Johnny Cash (Ain't No Grave, When the Man Comes Around), Steve Earle (Copperhead Road), Chris Cornell/Audioslave/SoundGarden (Seasons, Cochise, Black Hole Sun), Neal Young (Old Man, Long May You Run), Tupac (So Many Tears, All Eyez on Me), Eminem (Rabbit Run, Lose Yourself, Until I Collapse), Redlight King (Old Man).  Same old songs I have suffered with over the years.

28 comments:

  1. "Just an Idaho "Idiot" running through the night." - Awesome line, awesome write-up, and an awesome race! Well done.

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    1. Thanks Freebird. How did you find your way to this lowly blog? I see you have TARC roots- do you know Josh K?

      Glad you enjoyed the read.

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    2. Just navigating the MUT blogosphere. I know of Josh K by reputation only. A tremendous runner.

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  2. A sub 17 would be pretty amazing on this course. Great work, I heard it was good weather for testing your limits. I'll have to chat with you more once we get a house in Challis and I can settle in, lay out a really solid diet, and get into a serious training program again. Congrats on the massive win! Your dad is probably quite proud of you.

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    1. "good weather for testing your limits"???

      Seriously? The cloven hoof ungulates seemed to do just fine, but the rubber and nylon clad bipeds seemed to be way out of our element in that glop. I suppose the temps were helpful, but that comes with a price too when it is constantly rain/sleeting and windy. A tough day all the way around.

      On the sub-17, I figure I was off course 30 minutes and the slop probably cost me that much or more...so sub-17 was a pretty solid guesstimate.

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  3. Nice work Jeremy... righteous! Love the write up. So sorry I couldn't be there to help you and Matty out.

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  4. I'll say this in Colorado-ese so all you Front Rangers can understand it...No worries, it was splitter!

    I promise to race in Colorado next year- you better be there for that one. We really miss you guys. I bet Sky and Tao can outclimb us by now. Give them both a "bisou" for us.

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  5. Impressive. I really admire your work ethic, your training, your honest reflections. Very inspiring. It's interesting to note that even elites like yourself experience the same highs/lows as us back-of-the-pack-ers...you seem to have nearly dialed-in your nutrition and hydration tho - not an easy thing to accomplish!
    Looking forward to more wins! :)
    - Erin

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Erin. I was talking with some friends after the race about how many times , even while running a fine race, I wanted to just get lost and have an excuse to quit. Or, ouch! that cow kicked me, maybe I can quit now. It is a constant tug of war to get the body to do an irrational thing like running 100 miles. Even if you are having fun and really want to be out there. It is very natural to have those thoughts- they will always come. It is the response you muster that makes or breaks the day.

      The fueling is easy when the body wants to go. The only issues I've had with fueling is when over-trained or under-trained. When you are peaking, just about anything works, or almost nothing at all is fine too. When the fat is burning, that is all that one needs. I was really low on carbs during training and hunting the past month and that efficiency really helped.

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    2. interesting...since my barf-fest/DNF at CCC, i have taken a careful look at my nutrition and eating patterns. to the point of asking myself "would you be willing to eat meat?" (i have been veg for 25+ yrs) - anyway, i have started a month-long "experiment" - as i am in a boot with an Achilles injury, so not training hard - eating lots of vegs, some eggs and meat , and good fats. but no sweets, no empty carbs. I am very curious to see how it affects my running once I am back in the saddle!
      I'm excited to be tough enough to do IMTUF!!!

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    3. Very brave, Erin. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that works for me...To be veggie for 25+ years, you must be very good at scrutinizing the qualities of food. This will serve you well. I would apply that mindset fully to your meat and eggs. Add them slowly, so your body doesn't freak out- and only the best quality- wild caught, game meat or grass fed. Fish (wild salmon and sardines) shouldn't be a problem, nor should organic chicken. Make the organic chicken bones and skin into broth for soups. Try some liver (the king of foods). Grass fed butter and organic kefir. Avoid crap oils (soy, canola, corn, etc). Go with coconut oil in the frypan (or butter) and olive oil (never heated) on salads. Eat your salmon skin. That's what the bears do.
      I bet you put on 3-5 pounds of muscle, your body fat falls 5%, and your cholesterol levels PLUMMET. All of that = more speed and strength. I'll follow your blog to see the results. Good luck. IMTUF...less than 11 months.

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    4. thanks Jeremy -- it is a very interesting experiment, physically & emotionally. i am very curious to see the changes and take an honest look at the way i eat & train.
      thanks again for the inspirational words.

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  6. Great write up Jeremy. As long as I run these crazy things I will always be a student of the game knowing that there is always something to learn. Thanks for sharing what works for you. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to run in such an amazing an beautiful course. Ryan

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    1. Very fortunate indeed. You've gained leaps and bounds this year. What's next for you, Ryan?

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    2. Doing the Frenzy with my wife and then nothing planned. I'll put my name in for Western States for the 3rd time and cross my fingers I guess. After my successes at colder races this year I am wondering if WS is a good fit.

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  7. Awesome Jeremy! Extraordinary finishing time in less-than-ideal conditions. I thought that climb after Temple Fork was hard enough with the sticky mud and slick cow pies (my crew and I affectionately labeled it the sh*t-luge). . .but I now realize I'm lucky I didn't have to deal with the stinking, ornery bovines themselves. Thanks for clearing them out of the way for us slow pokes behind you. Hope to see you down the trail. . .

    Aaron K.

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    1. Thanks Aaron. Don't those big, green pies just look like mossy rocks. I stepped into so many of those things. Some are 6" deep. The one that kicked me had to be pregnant. She was at least 3 feet wide. Shit luge. I'll remember that.

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  8. That was a GREAT blog! Thanks so much for sharing it all!

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  9. Awesome write up Jeremy and once again, congratulations on the win and fantastic time.

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    1. Thanks Mr. Morris. A speedy recovery to you! What's next?

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  10. Congratulations on an incredible win, in difficult conditions, and on a tough course! I'm a newbie to the mountain running scene and watched you literally blow through Blowout Mtn. aid station while I was volunteering at CCC last year. That was a fantastic race to watch- very impressive! I signed up for my first 100, The Bear, not too long after having no idea you would be racing this one as well. I really enjoyed reading about your experience from the front of the race. And thanks for clearing out all the cows on the climb up to Tony Grove. The mud and cow shit were about all I could handle at that point. Congrats again on a great win! Running that course in under 18 hours blows my mind.

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    1. Joshua,
      The Bear was kind of a blur. However, the sights, smells and feelings of that day in August 2012 are forever burned into my mind. Maybe it was the intensity of running into the absolute unknown at CCC. I bumped into another guy this summer who was at an aid station early in the day at CCC. He said I looked possessed. My pacer Matt (at CCC and Bear) said I looked terrible and hanging on the edge at CCC, but like I was out for a jog at Bear. Maybe I got stronger. But perhaps, the real challenge was going into the unknown at CCC. The strain was physical for sure- but there was a serious mental burden of taking such a risk to run in the lead with no history to to indicate I could handle it. Just a belief I could find strength when the time came. I learned that to set a new standard, I would have to give more of myself to the performance. Not just try harder, but to give something of myself that I would never get back. That was what CCC was all about. From here, there will be new frontiers to cross and new strains to encounter. What that feels like- I will have to wait and see. If the outcome was known and assured, I would be doing something else. I can sit on the couch for an assured outcome.

      I see you finished your first hundred out there. Well done. Was it everything you expected?

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    2. "Possessed" is a great adjective for how you looked when you came through Blowout Mtn. aid. You had a bit of the crazy eye thing going on, like you hated even stopping for 30 sec. to refill water as you were ready to just get back at it.

      And yes, The Bear was my first hundred. What an experience! It was everything I expected and more. Miles 50+ was new territory for me and I still have a lot to figure out regarding nutrition, but I was pleased to overcome annoying stomach issues through the night and finish really strong from Ranger Dip. That felt good.

      The Bear is no joke, and you crushed it. Congrats again on your win!

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  11. Congrats Jeremy! I was monitoring the live (somewhat live) feed during the race and pulling for you especially towards the end. It is funny, I can actually relive that course/race through your recap. Last year it was smoking hot (no mud or ice though!) but the rest (cows, race crew frantically putting out markers as you run by them, porcupines, elk and a unrelenting fear that you are going the wrong way) was exactly the same! Finishing a 100 mile race on that course all in one day is special.. Congrats again, look forward to seeing what you do next. Stay hungry and build on this great race!

    -Kollar

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    1. Chris,
      Thanks for the support as the night went dark. Pretty cool that we both found the same rally point- climbing that insufferable hill up to Tony Grove. Not bad for a few Ohio boys.
      Jer

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  12. Was saving this report for when I needed it and could enjoy it. Got both today. Classic stuff - awesome. Great day, great race, great report. Hope your hunting is going well this season.Keep eating Jedi's.

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    1. Thanks for visiting George. I do a lot of belly-aching and griping in the blog. Looking back, it sounds like a bunch of complaining and excuses for my near-misses, not just this post, but lots of them. I guess that is what happens when you continually race over your head and you have only been running a few years. Thankfully, I have blogs like yours to learn from. Without a mentor or coach watching over me, I would not have a prayer without the info you Colorado guys put up there: GZ, Lucho, Clarkie. I owe you plenty for this great experience I had out there.
      Sincerest thanks,
      Jer

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