Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fortnight Ending August 14

Mon - 8.5 miles (1,800') easy with Ryan. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Sawmill - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg.

Tues - 5 miles track. 2.5 mile w-u, then 1,000 open, followed by 6 x 200: 3:16, 31 (low), 32 (high), 33 (high), 33 (low), 33 (mid), 31 (high). Mile c-d. 200s are so far out of my comfort zone right now, these were almost comical. Good to get the turnover in, I guess.

Weds - 0 miles. Travel day to Geneva.

Thurs - 9 (ish) miles (2,200'). Ran along the river from Zinal with Dakota and Scott to a stout climb above the Zinal Valley, which offered majestic views of the Zinal Glacier and the big local peaks: Dent Blanche, Bossu, Pointe Zinal, Weisshorn (4,506m, 4th highest peak in Europe) and other awesomeness. Descended with Scott to the base of the glacier, then back.

Friday - 4 miles (1,500'). Climbed to the 3k-to-go point of the Sierre-Zinal course and back down.

Saturday - 4 miles (500') easy. Ran alongside the river.

Sunday - 20 miles (7,200'). Sierre-Zinal race.

Total: 51 miles (13,000')

Mon - Off

Tues - Off

Weds - 4 miles (700') hiking. A test hike up toward La Flegere after tweaking my knee at Sierre-Zinal. Felt pretty good so decided that Thursday I would resume with some light running.

Thurs - 11 miles easy with Scott. Out and back from Chamonix to Les Houches on lightly rolling double track. Knee felt good, so gave myself the green light for some vertical exploring.

Fri - 10 miles (2,000'). Up to Refugio Elisabetta near Col de La Seigne and then back to Courmayeur with a stop off for lunch at Jacko's refugio just above Courmayeur. Huge pasta/grilled veggie feed followed by a gut wrenching 2,500'/2 mile drop into town. Fun group including Topher and Kim Gaylord (and relatives), Scott J & Scott J, Krissy M, Roch & Cat Horton. Awesome, awesome views of the valley, passes and peaks from the Arete Mont Favre.

Sat - 10 miles (6,000'). Met up with Kilian, Dakota and two others at Les Houches for a run up Mont Blanc from the valley floor. At least that was their plan, I turned at 6k' climbing (9k' elevation), thinking the full 12.5k' up and down might be a bit much a week out from the race. More awesome views of the Chamonix Valley from my turnaround point. Legs felt like bricks.

Sun - 9 miles (2,700'). With Adam Campbell and Radio Joe G FM up Mont Vert to the Mer de Glace Glacier, with an awesome cruise back down. Legs felt way better today than yesterday.

Total: 44 miles (11,400')

It has been a fantastic trip to Switzerland/France/Italy so far. The mountains and valleys have definitely not disappointed, while the food and general ambiance has been equally as great. I feel like a very lucky boy right now and I owe my wife dearly.

The running, to be honest, has not been that great. Sierre-Zinal was a pretty big disappointment, and my continued lack of pep since then has been annoying. Until today, I have been pretty gloomy about my chances at UTMB. However, I got out for a good run with Joe and Adam this morning and felt a little more like my usual self, so that has perked my confidence a bit. US runners have started to file in, so there has been a definite buzz the last couple of days, which has also helped get my mind into race mode. I'm not expecting great things for Friday/Saturday, but I am at least back to thinking that I can fight for a top-10 spot, which - all things considered - is a result I would definitely be happy with.

Not much left to do now. My parents arrive tomorrow and my brother and nephews a few days later, so I'll just do some light jogging and catch up with the family before getting ready for one last bout of extended suffering before I close it down for the season.


  1. Did Killian try/set a FKT on the Blanc?

  2. 100 milers, that's what you do. You're the most consistent guy out there. Just another long day in the mountains, you'll do great.

  3. Not to discount, but to encourage: I had a basketball coach in high school who worked with severely disabled kiddos (physically and mentally) during the day. He constantly reminded us to be grateful for the physical abilities we do have. Seeing the joy on his kid's faces despite overwhelming disability always put my head in the right place - grateful to be able to utilize and push my body, even when it hurt or struggled.

    Whether finishing first or last, you get to experience the feeling of your own two feet, your calves, quads, arms and whole body powering you over miles and miles of God's green earth. Enjoy the people, the place and the experience - the result will work itself out. Best to you Nick, thanks for the inspiring blog. Brian - C.Springs

  4. Rick - no, as he kept reminding us, just an 'easy' ascent. His friend Matheo was after a PR, so he took off after a few thousand feet. They (Kilian and D) were up in 3:57, and I believe Matheo in 3:30 or so.

    Justin - thanks, man. I've been trying to tell myself that too.

    Brian - thanks for the reminder. I worked on a special needs camp for three summers out in CA back when I was an undergrad student, and I gained a similar persepctive from that experience. Good to be reminded of the need to be thankful.

    Ian - with a focused training effort...maybe. No expectations. Just going to enjoy these here mountains.

  5. ditto - these 100s are your wheel house. You will having a blast when folks ahead start the skeleton dance at 60 miles ...

    ... then get back here for some much deserved downtime.

  6. The longer hillier the race the better you do. Good luck this weekend!

  7. Your attitude is one of most humble and excited and appreciated greatly. Wishing you best and top 10 for sure!

  8. Steve Prefontaine used to say, "If it comes down to a pure guts race, then I'm the only one who can win it." Dude, you are the Prefontaine of the ultra world, end this season with a bang. Have fun man.