Monday, September 23, 2013

The Georgia Jewel 35 mile – Learnin Stuff with the Crew of ill Repute

     This was set out as a training run and a way to learn something about 100s from some 100 mile runners during a 100 mile race. I have been looking at maybe doing a 100 miler next year and what better way to learn what you need to do? O I know…. run as much as you can during a 100 mile race. I have been lucky to crew for a 100. Well what about the start? How does that need to “go down”? Jason was running the 100 and win win for me and hopefully him. I get to learn some things and he gets somewhat of a “pacer” for the first 17.5 miles of his race.

Well what did I learn?

Pay attention to the weather and prepare for it AND every other thing that could happen. A poncho is NOT the best for a rain storm.  It dropped rain for 10ish hours so yea that kind of sucked. The fog was crazy real zombie weather.

Spend the money on a good head lamp. Refer back to the first lessen.

Hike, Hike and Hike. I need to spend days hiking for hours not just running. I don’t want to be at mile 70 ready to drop or die because I lack the skill to hike with speed.

Start out easy. I understand what they say by “the race starts at mile 50”.


      Anything that can happen just might happen. The rain got out of hand fast and God bless the RD and the team that held this race together. A river crossing got to be a real danger like let’s take some runners and maybe even a truck downstream DANGER. The Race team worked fast to hold the runners and find a way to divert the race. This made it 113ish miles in total BUT runners were able to finish what they came to do “get jeweled”. I hope and believe that everyone understands how hard it is to do something like that and have no hard feelings for it. Some runners got off course during this time and like I said God bless everyone involved with this event. Everyone was found, put back on course and given the chance to finish what they trained so hard for. This speaks volumes for this race and the commitment of everyone attached to it. Aid Station volunteers sitting in the rain for 10 + hours holding it together. Rain coming down so hard at times, wind blowing everything they have over, having to chase down runners and gear. Not only did they hold it together but were still able to make it a great event. As I sit here eating pizza and drinking a beer I can’t help but think what the RD and the race team has going through their heads right now. The event is over for us but not them.

OK now let’s get with the getting.
The Start
     Nice morning to start a run other than the MONSOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We started going up like really UP a road. Taking it easy in the back sucking up everything I could from not just Jason but the pack of about 6 - 100 mile runners all talking about past experience and planning. I just kept my trap shut and tried to take it all in. After we got to the “rock garden” I started to open up a little bit and joke around hoping to keep the conversation going between everyone. I was so excited to be running back through this on the comeback. I love rocky/rooty tails and this was my own personal heaven.  I thought boy I will be able to move like the wind when the sun comes out. We moved at a pretty steady 16 min mile with some running but the majority was hard/fast hiking and joging and every couple minutes I would have to run/jog to keep up or catch up with everyone. They were hiking like it was nothing and I was struggling to keep that moving pace without running. As we started seeing the 35 mile runners coming back after the turnaround some quite took over. I tried to get a conversation going but no such luck. I was not sure if they were just getting into the zone or if they were just tired of hearing my voice. Either way I just shut up. Thinking back on it after 4 hours of rain and the sun finally coming up I think it was just them accepting the fact that it was going to be a long day, it was going to rain, it was going to be cold and this was a hard trail. There was nothing they could do about it and they just had to accept that this was going to be their day/night/day. No complaining just moving forward. We hit the 35 mile turn around in 4hours and 30 minutes and I got ready to start my race. Jason went off with his crew of Nick, Annie and Bryan while I started tearing ass down the trail.
Chris at the river.

Just a little watter

Nick making some lunch
I got a really good look at the runners before the turn around and I thought that if I pushed it I could pass a good number of them. I did not really see a “mid pack” Just the fast group and then the pack right before the turnaround. I thought I would hit a pack of runners the first hour of the turn back then the “mid pack” the last hour.  I was hoping that I would make the return trip in 3 hours. The first hour I just zoned into the trail and passed 10 or 11 runners before I hit the 10 mile aid station. I restocked and asked how far behind the next runner was I? He said that he thinks the lead pack was crossing the finish right about then. At that point I started thinking hell there does not seem to be a mid pack. I was just 2 miles away from the rock garden and I knew I would really be able to make a move then. As I got to the start of the rocks it hit me that this is going to be a really hard end to my day. The rain got even harder and the trail was smooth with water. It was not the rocks that were the problem it was the fact I could not see any rocks. The water was up to 6 inches deep in spots. I said HTFU (thanks Bo) in my head and just pushed as hard as I could. That luck lasted for about a mile before I ate it. I ended up ripping one of the lugs on my running shoes but the fact that the lug ripped and bent stopped my ankle from going sideways so I started walking and clearing fallen trees from the trail until I felt comfortable running again. This lasted till mile 28.45 on my Garmin. At that point the wind kicked and a tree fell along the trail right next to me. I looked up and said “really bro” and thought dude this SUCKS for the 50 and 100 mile runners. I just moved at a safe pace for the next 2 miles until I got to a point that I could get moving again. My hip started hurting long before this point but again I told myself HTFU it’s pain from running and either you can keep bitching about it or just accept the fact it’s going to hurt and keep hurting until it does not hurt anymore. “stop being a little bitch” “remember you had some manhood at some point In your life where did it go?” So moving as hard as I could again it hit me that for this 35 mile run I had only drank 60oz of water. I thought WTF??? That’s not right? That’s not good at all but I have been peeing every hour. (am I absorbing water through my skin?) As hard as it was raining I would not doubt it. O well lets finish this beast. As I was getting close to the finish I started walking a little to “fix myself up” just in case there was someone taking pictures. I did not want to look to beat down crossing the finish. I came around the turn at a nice hard pace to the finish and yep. It was just an Ultra finish. 4 people under a tent yelling “what’s your bib number?” hahaha I love it.

     Total time from my Garmin was 7:59:57. So 4:30:36 out and 3:29:20 on the ride back not quit the 3 hour return I was looking for but extremely happy considering the conditions.

     When I hit the finish they told me that there was a sandwich in a box if I wanted it. As I’m stuffing my face a guy pulls out a camera and takes a picture and all I could think was “really? You’re taking a picture now?” Well hell. I told everyone thinks and started walking back to the FJ. One of the men yelled “do you want your award?” O cool we get something? The race bag was sweet and we got a great zip up hoodie AND now I get a finish award “hell yea” I replied. He yelled back and told me “you see that van driving away? Better catch them” so I took off as fast as I could chasing this van down. I thought I just ran 35 miles and now I’m doing a 100 yard sprint for some finish award. I just stopped and looked at the guy and yelled “really?” hoping he was just joking with me. “YES it’s in the van” I just looked down and said the hell with it. I came for a good run and learn some stuff and I got that in spades. I was more than happy and now I just want to take a shower but just then the van turned around and drove back to me. O HAPPY DAYS O HAPPY DAYS. It slipped her mind that the awards were in her van. I’m sure the problems with the flood and course reroute and all the tents blowing away the last thing on her mind was the box of jewels.

     Everyone did an amazing job. Phyllis got first female in the 35 mile race, Rachel, Angela and Katie all finished the 50 miler with some extra miles. Nick, Bryan and Annie did a great job crewing and pacing Jason to his fifth 100 mile finish. Got to see a lot of Ultra friends. All in all a great event and a great weekend spent on the trails. I will be running this bad boy again. Maybe the 100 if I do get a wild hair up my butt.
Crew of ill Repute picture taken by Bryan. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ultimate Direction Signature Series Anton Krupicka Race Vest - Product Review

As advertised: 
Minimalism comes to the world of hydration with the AK Race Vest, designed by the apostle of the "less is more" philosophy, Anton Krupicka.  Weighing in at a feathery 6 ounces, the AK Race Vest is the world’s lightest hydration pack.  With all the features you need and none you don’t, the AK Race Vest offers twin bottle pockets, a main compartment for gear or a reservoir, and several smaller pockets easily accessed on the go.  The Power Net Mesh holds small items securely while expanding out to a full 4 liter capacity.


Features (Front):
A Smart phone compatible pouches (2)                    
B Bottle holsters tighten to carry camera, ect.
C Hose loops for optional reservoir (3)
D Electrolyte or valuables pocket (2)
E Fully adjustable Sternum Straps (2)
F Super soft edge banding

Features (Back):
G Bungee Cord for extra capacity
H Secure Lat Pockets 
I Interior bungee to secure load or reservoir
J Hex Mesh for maximum breath-ability
K Side straps for size adjustment

Volume Capacity: 23 in.3 / 4.5L
Fluid Capacity: 2 x 20 oz. bottles / 2 x 591 mL
Weight: 6 oz. (11.5 oz. with bottles) / 170 g (326 g with bottles)
Height: 12 in. / 30 cm
Width: 9 in. / 23 cm

Sizing At Chest (Unisex):
Use the average of your chest (at nipples) and natural waist (where you bend)
S/M: 23 - 34 in. / 58.4 - 86.4 cm
M/L: 27 - 39 in. / 68.6 - 99.1 cm

Vest Design: A wide range of loads is carried with comfort, stability, and ease of access
Hex Mesh: The structure of the vest is totally breathable, while also being extremely strong, lightweight, and will not absorb moisture

Power Mesh: All pockets and super stretchy, so small loads won't bounce and the vest expands as you need it to.


Features (Front):
A Smart phone compatible pouches (2)   (You are not fitting a smart phone in these pouches. Holding capacity 1" thick / 4" tall / 2 1/3" wide. A small camera or 2 Gels.)                  
B Bottle holsters tighten to carry camera, ect.
C Hose loops for optional reservoir (3)
D Electrolyte or valuables pocket (2)  (Holding capacity 3" long / 2" tall with a little stretch)
E Fully adjustable Sternum Straps (2)
F Super soft edge banding

Features (Back):
G Bungee Cord for extra capacity
H Secure Lat Pockets (2) (Holding capacity 4 1/2" tall / 2 1/2" wide. (3 Gels.) with a little stretch)
I Interior bungee to secure load or reservoir (velcro loop) 

J Hex Mesh for maximum breath-ability
K Side straps for size adjustment

Main compartment holding capacity after adding a Reservoir - 4 1/2" thick / 6 1/2" wide 8 1/2" tall with a lot of stretch. 

I use a Camelbak 50oz reservoir and it fits very well. I am not a fan of how the UD reservoir opens. 

This is a really great compartment that can hold a lot of stuff if you need it to. It feels great on your back with or without anything in it. It sits up high so you don't have any problem with it rubbing your lower back and does not cause any chafing. The bungee allows you to tighten the gear inside down so it does not bounce around. When adding of removing gear or when the reservoir gets low you do need to loosen or tighten the bottom strap. 

The bottle holsters are well placed but the UD bottles do not feel comfortable and the "nipples" Ultimate Direction bottle kicker valves are a bit of a pain in the butt to use. I took my 20oz Amphipod bottles and used them and the curve that the 
Amphipod bottles have feel good and the holster tightening cords hold them in place just fine.


There is a sloshing sound that I have heard some people complain about but to tell the truth it is no loader than a water reservoir in the back or the sound of your handhelds in your hand. I have no problem talking to other runners and hearing them. It does take some getting used to (hearing it at your chest) but that's about it. 

Other than the bottles and reservoir (which have nothing to do with the vest) and the fact they promote a Smartphone being able to fit in the top pouch I really enjoy the vest. It is small and fits well. It did take about a week for me to tighten the vest down to where it felt good on my body. I have run all week in the vest without a shirt (log run being 4 hours) and have not had any chafing problems. My nipples bleed after 8 with a shirt so that’s saying a lot. I live in the south east with high humidity and heat. The vest does hold sweet around the edge banding on the bottom but nothing crazy and a lot less than any other system I have used in the past.

For you handhelds only runners. I myself only used a pack when I had no other choice but this is small and functional. I have been putting a camera in the upper left pouch but if you are going to do that you would need to pad it. I used a Sport Shield packet.  

If your a runner that does not need a lot most days but do go on those long "alone" runs this is the vest for you. It holds everything I need for race day and I can add the reservoir and put items into the back pouch for those long training runs. No more looping back to the car or carrying a big bulky pack for this runner. 

Some things I think would improve the vest. 

1. The top Sternum Strap has an elasticity to it. I think that would be great for the bottom one and the side straps. That way you could tighten the vest down tighter but still be able to breath with comfort and not have to make any adjustments when adding or removing gear from the back. 

2. I wish that the top pouches closed the same way the bottom ones do. 

Over all I think this is a great product for a "minimal' type runner that can do a verity of running task. 


Monday, September 2, 2013

Yeti Snakebite 50k – The trail of fate cuts a strange and winding path.

       What a weekend. Great pre-night at Annie and Bryans place. Thanks to them for putting us up. Jason, Rachel, Bo Katie and Myself.


This was the first year for this race and I got some problems with the websites “What” section.
50 mile and 50KM races designed to help runners achieve a new distance and allow veteran runners to run a speedy time or tune up for upcoming fall events. Both races utilize a variety of relatively easy trails, including weaving single-track and broad open fields, as well as narrow trails along the Chattahoochee River. With moderate hills and trails, the course is designed for fast times and for those looking to try their first trail ultra.

      Just let me pick this apart for a sec before I go into how amazing this event was. “veteran runners to run a speedy time” yea freaking right maybe in fall but not in that weather. “and those looking try their first ultra” yea go ahead if you have a death wish.

      Ok now that I’m done with that. What a great trail that the RD Jason Green set up. Great mix of everything. Single track trails with climbs and fast drops, rocks, roots, open road (mix of gravel and pavement). Rivers, streams, crazy castle in the middle of the water.  There were some fields of high grass and whatever grows 10 feet tall that I could do without but great trail well the sections I saw.
We all got talked into the 50 mile the night before and HUGE props to Bo and Rachel for finishing it and Rachel for her first 50 miler in that kind of heat. Jason went down to the 50k and the rest of us well we were there. Haha

     I started out at a 12 min pace looking to use this as a training run for a race latter this year.  As I got to the 3rd mile I said the hell with that this is going to get hotter than Cremator so I picked up the pace a little to avg out to an 11 min pace. I still did not want to move to hard my hips have still been acting up a bit and I would have a 7+ hour drive the next day for work. It was hard to keep that 11 min pace due to the fact the heat was really getting to people and anytime we hit single track I would be stuck behind a long line of people walking. I started getting a little ticked off because I would say excuse me or on your left and they would say ok but not slide over. It is single track people with shit footing (big rocks and such) slide the hell over like normal people and don’t just say “OK” never seen that before in a race or well ever.

     I hit the first Aid Station and went looking for GUs and they did not have any. Not uncommon at Ultras but I have only been using them and not real food and was scared what “food” would do to my gut. They did have everything a runner could ask for in the way of real food so I ate a little something and took off. About a mile latter; Yep, I’m fucked. Gut got jacked up and hips started hurting BUT that sweet castle in the water was right there and I stopped and got a nice look at it. I was not expecting it to get that hot and humid and was in no way ready for it. That on top of the hip pain starting and only 11ish miles in I knew I was not going to run the 50 miles and would just turn around at the 50k turn around. I want to be 100% for a run latter this year and don’t need to compound injuries. When I hit 15.5 miles I thought where the hell is this aid station? I saw the 1st place runner but no one after that for about 3 min. I knew I was not that close to the lead pack and that they should all be passing me like a long time ago. I hit 17 miles and thought O hell now I’m lost. It was that tall 30 foot grass with a path cut out. I yelled “AID STATION!!!!!! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU!!!!!!! Hoping someone would hear the cries of a lost child in the woods and come to help. Then I see Andy come racing down the hill. A quick high five and I was good. I knew then that I was still on the trail and that the leader was just kicking the shit out of everyone. I still thought crap where is this aid station? I’m in some neighborhood in little kid shorts and that’s all. Dirty, sweaty with a little limp. Any self respecting parent would kick the crap out of me and tell me to get out and stay out. At that point I hear a little party going on. 18ish miles there was the 50k turn around. I got there and said how many miles back? And is this 18 miles? Thinking my Garmin was just off by about the distance of the price of a new one. “Yea 18 miles you cut out a 3 mile loop on the way back” the girl with the clip board said. Well think God I would like to spend my $ on a vest and not a new watch.

     I stayed at the aid station for about 20 min thinking of what I needed to do. 50m/50k/drop? One of the Aid station workers (Ultra runner) I know because of how he was talking to me. “what you still doing here?” “O no you came to run the 50 so you need to get going THAT WAY” “here suck on this pop sickle while you move down the trail” “you hurt? You don’t look hurt”…. You can’t pay money for good support like that. That only comes from having good people helping at an event that has been through some real running pain. It’s not just the words it’s the tone in them. I said to myself I would just wait for Rachel and Bo before I made up my mind on what to do. I knew I was not going to run the 50 and I knew that I could finish the 50k and still get some rest for the work drive the next day but at what cost? I want to be 100% latter and if I keep going Ill just keep the hip messed up. I know I can go 20 miles with little to no pain after last weekend but the pain started at mile 10.I saw runner after runner drop down to the 50k or DNF. I talked with Richard and Kurt who both were DNFing and thought it’s best for me to do the same.

     I sat there for a little over an hour thinking I would just reset my brain and keep going but I could not stop singing this in my head.

On a warm summer's mornin' on a trail bound for nowhere,
I met up with the race; we were both too tired to speek.
So we took turns a starin' out the window at the darkness
'Til boredom overtook us, and it began to speak.

It said, "Son, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their hearts were by the way they held their eyes.
And the race got deathly quiet, and my face lost all expression.
it said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your miles when you're sittin' at the aid station.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the runnins done.

Now Ev'ry runner knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
'Cause ev'ry races a winner and ev'ry race a loser,

There'll be time enough for runnin' when the healin's done.

     Once Rachel and Bo got there I let them know I was dropping and got a ride back to the start. I knew that Bryan would be getting to the 50 mile turn around soon and would just give him Rachel’s stuff out of my car. Once I got to the 50 mile turn around I did just that but saw Rachel and Bo pop up. Both of them looking strong and I knew she would be finishing her first 50 mile. She asked for one of my handhelds and they headed back down the trail.

     I think a lot of people were not expecting that heat and dropped down to the 50k or 50 mile because they have plans of other runs latter in the year and did not expect this first year event to be so well organized. Well we were wrong. Jason and his crew did one hell of a job with this event and I know that next year that 50 miler will be on a lot of people’s hit list.