Grizzly Ultra

Finish line shot taken by Philippe Legace

I had three goals going into yesterdays Grizzly 50K. One was to have a solid tempo day finishing off a 100M week in preparation for the world 100K championships on November 21 in Qatar. Second, to go out slower than last years blistering pace set forth by studs like Duncan, Kuba, and Francois. Thirdly to run without a visor or hat and show off my newly grown long locks.

Shortly after the gun sounded I found myself alongside Devin Featherstone trotting away at a comfortable pace well slower than last years vomiting inducing one, this made me happy. Its a lot easier to do when you have a partner in crime deciding to induce the same tactics. Around the 7K mark we found ourselves running off course, we ran around 1K off course, stood around for a minute, scratched our heads and ran back from where we came from, where, to our chagrin we saw 5 big signs pointing us to the right, duh! It might have been my over the top cheering and high fiving other runners but I blame Devin for pointing out the smoking hot chicks and keeping my head on a constant swivel either way, finding yourself off course is apart of trail running. We got back on course and settled into a groove again. I didn’t quite get comfortable until the 20 K mark, at that point I found myself slowly pulling away for Devin. Only a couple minutes later I bit it on a rocky descent, double rolled out of it and kneeled there for a second doing a systems check. My shoulder felt achy and right calf tightened but otherwise was a full go. Devin caught up and i cruised with him for awhile. In the next 5K my calf really started to shorten and with my “A” race in November I was cool pulling the plug if need be but at the beginning of the third leg the tightened eased and my stride opened again.

The third leg was fun, unlike last year when it felt like David Beckham kicked me in the nuts. I noticed that starting slower paid off and my general fitness level was better than years past. The trail in the second half of that race can be really enjoyable as long as you are not wishing upon death. I skittered lower and lower knowing very well I’d need to climb out of this hell I was burying myself in and my climbing legs were stowed somewhere between boxes in my attic. The climb out of leg three wasn’t as disgusting as I remember and arrived back at the staging area to start leg 4 still feeling fresh.

Richard Reid, Tyson Smith, and me

The climb at the beginning of leg 4 reminded me of the limited climbing I’ve done this year but in my defence my fall calendar is riddled with super flat endurance events. The remainder of leg 4 flew by and the super fun descent was as delicious as pumpkin pie. The only thing that was missing was company. From the beginning of leg 3 I did not see another runner in sight, this made me sad and lonely. I was having so much fun I would love to share it with someone. I could of sworn that if a tree spoke to me I would talk back and even give it a hug… oh come on, lets not pretend you’ve never done it?

Starting leg 5 my right lower leg started to tighten again but only upon the climbing so I decided to back off on the intensity and not aggravate things any further. Leg 5 runs parallel to many other trails of previous legs, this was fun cuz I’d see many of my friends enjoying the trails just as much as I was. I finished in 3rd place and in a time of 4:26 still feeling relatively fresh. Given the extra K my time was about the same as last year but the effort and enjoyment made this years Grizzly ultra an absolute success and a boost in confidence going into my fall/winter race schedule. Congrats go out to Tyson Smith and Richard Reid with finishing strong in 1st and 2nd places respectively. Big congrats to Nadine Mueller for finishing in 4:37 in first and setting a new CR but most of all thanks to Grizzly mountain events and all there volunteers for once again putting on a world class event.

As for my three goals going into the race, the first two were a success. As for the hair thing, I had a few comments comparing me to Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber.

The dead sexy Jeff Daniels

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