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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blogging Moab's Red Hot 55K/33K

I compiled a list with links for every blog I could find from the 2014 Moab's Red Hot 55K and 33K. If you have or know anyone that has a blog from this race, please contact me at or on twitter at, and I will add it to the list.

Also, if this is something you'd like to see again for other large races, give a holler!

Chris Hunter: Hunter Imagery

My race report from Moab’s Red Hot 55K/33K can be found here:  Please take a peek and support Rocky Mountain Runners!


Misty Alessandri: Happy Utah Mountain Runners (HUMR)


Mary Dalzot: The Journey of a Thousand Miles

Lindsay Lauck: Bot Friendly

Another Side

Moab's Red Hot 33K

My race report from Moab’s Red Hot 55K/33K can be found here:  Please take a peek and support Rocky Mountain Runners!
Last weekend was my return to running and racing after more than 3 weeks of an upper respiratory infection that drastically reduced my training. With Moab’s Red Hot 33K the first race leading up to Bighorn 100, I was ready to get back to feeling good physically and mentally, even if I wasn’t exactly sharp in both areas.

The course was beautiful and relatively well-marked; one runner mentioned the likelihood of getting off-course and in several instances, it was hard to know which way to move forward on a wide expanse of rock. I got off-course at one point, losing a measly 30 second, before turning around to see the pink-and-black ribbons guiding me upwards. 

My game plan was simply not to overexert myself (an impossible feat not to somewhat explore) and escape injury free. My fueling was good, as was foot placement on the sloping rocks, turning my ankle uncomfortably once. 

After the race, I got to talk to some great runners who seem like even greater people: Mike Foote, Joe Grant, Neeraj Engineer, Brian Burkhardt, and more. The after-after party was at Eddie McStiff’s (Robin’s favorite name) and it was a who’s who affair, highlighted by Jenn Shelton’s Academy Award-esque introduction and speech to preface the opening chapter of her upcoming book; it sounds immensely entertaining!

The next day, Robin and I set out to explore Arches National Park. We stopped every half mile to get out of the car and take pictures. Every view from every angle was simply phenomenal. We parked at the Delicate Arch trailhead and picked through some beautiful stones as souvenirs and I found a geode!! We eventually trudged our way up the trail and saw this unique structure. It was a location that one could sit at all day long; however, the clouds rolled in rather quickly and rain was starting to drop delicately, coincidentally. 

Before we left Moab for good, I spotted people running up and down a large sandhill; I noticed divots in the red sand when we pass earlier and surmised they were likely footprints. We pulled over and I did my best to make it to the top, but the sand swallowed my feet as I quickly expended all my oxygen. The ride down was crazy fun!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sickness & Disappointment

For the first three weeks of training, I was challenged by the workload - particularly the 3:30am wake up calls - but mentally and physically stronger for it. Each week, I felt on the precipice of a minor injury or mental exhaustion that could take me away from running for a few days or so. By the time Thursday rolled around, I was wiped out, but comforted by the knowledge that the next two nights of rest would heal me and that Saturday would be an enjoyable long run with a great group (Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club) filled with outstanding people. 

And on that one Thursday night, I turned from the comforts of safety and rest and decided to perform in a local improv late into the evening as somewhat of a reward for my physical expenditures, a sort of mental workout. Shouting, gesticulating, and dancing, all while I should have been home sleeping with dreams of VFuel gels and compression socks shuffling through my head, further impacted negatively my immune system.

All seemed well until Saturday morning. Sixteen miles were on the docket of what was a bright and sunny day. About one mile in, I succumbed to a slight cough and a tickle inside my chest appeared. Coughing isn’t entirely uncommon for me after long runs, but not during. I completed the 16 miles and felt sluggish for the first time in a while after a long run. 

On Sunday, the upper respiratory infection hit along with a 102.8 fever. I took a week off from training - and three days from work - and tackled an easy 10 miles indoors on the treadmill, safe from the dry cold outdoors that ravage a sore throat. I wasn’t 100%, far from it, but I had to do something to shake the virus. I thought I could outsmart the germs by wearing a neck gaiter (Buff, baby) to keep my throat extra warm. A few days later, the illness had transformed into something much worse and a second visit to the doctor for a more powerful prescription was in order. Again, I shut down training, both the physical and mental portions that come with it. 

I’m still not fully recovered and with about 20 miles on tap this Saturday in Moab, UT for the Grassroots Events spectacular, I’m disappointed to not have my best. Weeks 4 and 5 should have featured 76 miles; however, the wrench caused me to tackle just 18.

The lesson I take from this: listen to your body and the get the rest that’s needed. Depending on where and with whom you work, you may need more. As a teacher, germs abound. In other words, lots more sleep on tap for me... and perhaps an investment into a Hazmat suit.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jan 6 - 26

Through the first three weeks of twenty-four week training for Bighorn 100 in Wyoming, I was on schedule, strong, and finding that I had more speed than I was used to tapping into. The structure of having to go to bed early more days than not and waking up incredibly early for training has been very fulfilling.

Life and training in Colorado has been quite different from the comforts of New Jersey, a place I’ve lived and training nearly my entire life. Altitude, mountain running and trails are three variables I’ve had to contend with since the move to Boulder in August. Before moving, I’d found a trail that ran the perimeter of my development and a retirement community, under power lines, through a barren masonry plant property, and momentarily on a rarely used train track. It was far from interesting and on the day I heard gun shots in the distance - learning later there was a firing range nearby - I vowed not to make my way out to those parts again.

The trails in Boulder, well, its simply a mecca out here. Even after the floods washed away chunks of well-groomed trails, runners have hardly taken issue with what was left behind. Its all still in play and all still wonderful.

As for altitude and mountain running, its something that will improve over time and effort. In the days after the move from sea level, I quickly jumped into some hard runs that tested my body’s ability to do without as much oxygen as I had grown accustom. Luckily, no altitude sickness. The mountain running has been a challenge, but I’m dumbfounded by the thought of training at sea level for a 100-miler with over 16,000 ft of elevation gain. Its certainly wouldn’t have been impossible, but I just don’t think I could have done enough in New Jersey to prepare myself for what would be in store come race day at a mountainous ultra.