Friday, September 28, 2007

Proper Race T-Shirt Wearing Etiquette (according to Bad Ben)

The often-hilarious trail runner/blogger Bad Ben of the KC Trail Running Nerds has updated his awesome post of proper race t-shirt wearing etiquette. It's worth a read (or listen via podcast), and I found myself laughing out loud throughout the read.

(Some of Bad Ben's samples, courtesy of Bad Ben)

A sample of the 21 rules of race t-shirt wearing:
"2. Any race tee, less than a marathon distance, shouldn’t be worn to an ultramarathon event. This goes double for the wearing of sprint-tri shirts to Ironman and Half-Ironman events. It simply doesn’t represent a high enough "cool factor " and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. It's like taking a knife to a gunfight....

6. A DNF’er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question (using a fat Sharpie or a Marks-A-Lot).

20. This next one is a big one, and has something to do with the need for more good taste and asthetics in this sometimes ugly world. Never wear a shirt that is so old, thin, and threadbare that you can see the color of your nipples or chest hair through it. This seems to be just a "guy thing," especially and old-codger-runner-guy thing. Here's the test guys: if you're too scared to machine-wash your 1978 Tab Ten-Miler shirt for fear of it wafting down the drain as meer subatomic particles, then it's probably too transparent to wear in public..."
Be sure to read the whole post for the full comical effect! I'm not sure how many of these rules apply to t-shirt quilts, but I'm thinking at least half do.


Monday, September 24, 2007

The Accidental 60-miler at the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run

Last Saturday, I joined 150 runners for the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run (Double Marathon) and Rio del Lago 100-miler near Auburn, CA. We had fantastic weather, and despite some navigational errors that cost me the race, I had a fantastic time getting to know the other runners/volunteers and returning to the American River Canyon.

The SNER was my first race back after injuring my leg/knee at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler, and I was as giddy as a school girl pinning a race number on for the first time in months. I knew it was possible that I wouldn’t make it to the finish on this 53.6 mile, 10,000 vertical foot run – it was too important to keep my health, so I made a deal with myself that I would drop at the first sign of trouble. But I hadn’t done this course yet and was still in the running for the Series, so I figured I should at least try. I also had some new gear to try out – the Nathan lightweight HPL running vest (of Krissy Moehl fame), and a couple of big gun 26 oz water bottles for the longer stretches.

(Norm tells us how it's going to be)

The weather forecast was darn near perfect – low 50’s with a slight chance of rain – which opened the door for some really fast times. Race Director Norm Klein gathered us into the Cavitt School gymnasium, letting us know that registration was up 40% this year! I did see a lot of new faces, as well as the familiar smiling mugs of Jon Olsen (winner of the Rio 100 the last two years and course record holder), Mark Tanaka (2nd the last two years at the Rio 100), Chihping Fu, Peter Lubbers, Paul Charteris, and many others. I was cracking up hearing people say “I’m only doing the sprint today” – that’s still 53 miles! Only in the ultra community…

(All smiles at the start)

At the 6am start, it was still pitch black outside, but the 100-milers were happy to share their lights as we all headed out 2x2. Jon Olsen broke from the pack right away, and in an instant, he had disappeared into the dark. I paced along with Mark Tanaka and Julie Fingar, who were going super-fast for their 100-mile adventure. Julie knew the course by heart, and helped Mark and I navigate some tricky trail changes in the first few miles.

We hit the first aid station (mile 4), just as the daylight lit up the foggy clouds. They said we were #2, 3, and 4, but before we could get too excited, a pack of five others went flying by led by Tom Riley. Julie and Mark were too experienced to get caught up in it, and they still had 96 miles to go. After a quick bite, we were mule-training down the trail again and caught up to the others.

Mark took the lead in the pack, and before too long he had gapped us. I found a comfortable pace with Suzie Lister, whose name I recognized from years of results at Western States, but was meeting in person for the first time. Suzie had just returned to States this year after an 8 year break to have two kids (5 and 7), and beat her former PR by 10 minutes to finish in 21:35! I love to hear it when people come back and run faster as a Master. Given her pace at SNER, she was going to be an overall contender here for sure. It was great to chat with her and hear about the 15-odd years she has been involved with States, whether volunteering, pacing Graham Cooper to his 2006 win, or kicking ass herself.

(Suzie Lister poses for a pic on a beautiful section of the course)

The rain threatened, but held back for the most part as we hit the 12-mile aid station. I felt like I was holding back more than I should, and bid Suzie farewell until the turnaround. So far my legs were feeling strong…a little too strong actually. Given my heart rate and pace, I was running much faster than usual. I decided to turn it up a little, but keep some reserves for the return trip.

(Cruising through the trees as the rain comes down)

The horse trails along the American River are wonderful to run – they zig in and out, climbing here and there, alternating between technical rocky sections and fast, flat stretches through the grass. Some of the trail crossings weren’t marked very well, but usually you could just head “upstream” with the river and not get too lost. I gave a few minutes chasing down the wrong ribbons, but always kept the trail in sight.

After another quick aid stop (potatoes and m&m’s), I focused on Cardiac Hill, the long climb up to the Auburn Dam Lookout. 2007 100k Masters Champion Mark Lantz was out crewing for friends, and let me know that Jon Olsen was about 15 minutes ahead and Mark Tanaka was 2 minutes up…and then it was me! I guess I was leading the 53-milers, although it was sobering to know the two guys ahead of me were going twice as far. ;-)

Cardiac was a beast, reducing me to a fast walk for nearly all of it. I was glad I brought the 26 oz bottles, since I had drained them both in the 7 mile section between aid stations. With a quick refill at the top and shot of flat Coke, I headed down the backside towards No Hands bridge. Tim Tweitmeyer and friends were out for a fun run, and shouted support as I came down the switchbacks.

I hit No Hands Bridge in about 4 hours, just as the clouds broke into rain. I chatted with the volunteers, commenting that the 100-milers were outpacing the 53-milers! I asked where to go next, and they pointed me up towards Cool, CA for a “short loop”. I thought I had heard in the morning briefing that the turnaround was at No Hands, but perhaps I misheard – these guys were pretty insistent that I should see if I could catch Tanaka, just a few minutes ahead.

(View from K2)

The loop up to Cool was brutal, by way of Training Hill Trail, also known as “K2” by the locals. It was so steep I had to alternate walking up backwards and forwards, and even made mini-switchbacks of my own. This must be a tough stretch for the 100-milers! It took about 45 minutes for me to reach the peak, and I quickly made it to the Cool aid station. The faces of the volunteers were morose, and I worried that somebody had an accident. Instead, they came up to me and said “we have made a terrible mistake; they were supposed to turn you around at No Hands…we are so sorry”. On top of that, I was 3.5 miles away from the turnaround. Just like that, the wind was sucked from my sails. I hadn’t just lost the race, I just lost the Series, all for a simple mistake.

I tried to keep my cool (in Cool), but was very frustrated. The volunteers were great at keeping me calm. How could that happen? It was a simple mistake. I told them I was a 53-miler! They assumed you knew the course. Why didn’t they send someone after me? You were going too fast. What are my options? You can opt into the 100-miler (probably not the best thing to do after an injury), get a ride back to No Hands (although I was way too far behind to regain the lead), or just keep running. I just shook my head. They told me to “talk to Norm, he will give you extra credit and figure something out for the Series – it was an honest mistake”. True, mistakes do happen. In fact, the mistake was largely mine for not studying the course in advance of the race and knowing which way to go.

So I pressed on. I ran like a banshee, swearing under my breath. I couldn’t believe how angry I was! Not so much at others, but at myself. I barely even said hi to Julie as she went the other way. Then the inevitable happened – I face planted on a steep descent because I wasn’t watching my steps. I wasn’t hurt, but I didn’t want to get up. So I just laid there.

Then it dawned on me. How did I go from “enjoying a long run” to “being furious about my results”? I’ve always prided the fact that I didn’t worry too much about my place/time. On top of it all, now I’m mad at volunteers for something that I could have avoided with better preparation? Geez, Scott, if it wasn’t for volunteers, there wouldn’t even BE a race. Somewhere in the excitement of leading and the news of the mistake, I completely lost my head game. So I took out a Snickers bar, sat on the muddy trail, and focused on getting my mind back on track. It didn’t take much – it was still a gorgeous day to run, my legs were holding up wonderfully, and I would still have run every race in the Series this year even if there wasn’t a Series. I just looked around and sucked in Mother Nature on that quiet section of the trail. Time to just chalk this one up to experience, and make it a 60 mile day.

With a belly full of chocolate and a big smile, I cruised along at a comfortable pace. I ran into Michael Kanning, the 15-year-old phenom attempting his first 100-miler, and he was in great spirits along with the other runners who were enjoying the day. The volunteers at No Hands were apologetic for the situation and helped me load up for the return run, and we all agreed it was no big deal for one runner to get off course. If that was the only thing that went wrong today, it was a super-good day for race directors/volunteers! I loaded up the water bottles and headed back.

(No Hands, as viewed from the WRONG TRAIL! ;-) )

You always see the biggest smiles of an ultra in the mid-pack, and every one of them lifted my spirits. Rajeev and Anil were no exception, and came by in their usual aura of eternal optimism, as did four or five first-timers that were having a blast. All the volunteers along the way knew of my predicament – apparently there was some frantic calling over the walkie-talkies about “#110 who got off course” – and were very pleased to see I was still out running. Jon Olsen was keeping his crazy pace as I hit the Auburn Dam Overlook again (the 100-milers had one more additional loop, so this meant Jon was probably 50 minutes ahead of me), well on his way to a record finish.

(Jon Olsen on his way to his 3rd win at the Rio 100)

Most of the next 10 miles were running solo, listening to the birds and going at a comfortable pace. Mark Tanaka caught me about 10 miles from the finish, and we chatted a bit before he sped ahead. He and Jon had very different support strategies – Jon probably had somebody at every aid station with food ready, pacers, etc., while Mark just had what was on his back and the company of others. Mark was super-impressed with how smart Jon was running so far, as well as how well Julie Fingar was running (she was still in third overall at that point).

(Mark Tanaka gets a quick refill at mile 57)

I cruised in to the finish (11:09, probably near last), and immediately hit the buffet line for turkey, stuffing, and brownies. Some of the other racers asked what happened, and when I shared the story, they called over Norm to see if I could get extra credit for the miles. I told him that I felt the volunteers accidentally sent me the wrong way, compounded by the fact that I was unfamiliar with the course. Norm was uncharacteristically stern with me – What is your problem? How much more clear could I be? Turn around at No Hands, the sign says 26.5 miles! Then he “peshawed” me and walked away. The other racers were stunned... “dude, you just got screwed”.

Well, it is what it is. It was still a great day, and I was extremely pleased that my legs felt so good throughout the 60+ miles. This meant I had plenty of races ahead of me, and most likely a few more race series to try out. I checked the leader board, and Peter Lubbers had won the overall in 9:54! Suzie Lister was less than two minutes behind – I bet Peter was looking over his shoulder a few times. A few more 100-milers checked in as I hit the showers and headed home. I would later find out that Jon Olsen won the 100-miler in 15:31, Mark Tanaka came in second in 18:22, and Julie Fingar won the Women's division in 20:36.

As I drove into the sunset, I couldn’t help but feel like I had passed some sort of life test. I felt no regret about the situation (aside from I should better prepare myself before a race), and could only think about the faces and places that had shared a wonderful day. In fact, I had gotten some great “bonus miles” and saw some of the trail that I missed by not starting at 12 Hours of Cool. Deep inside, I knew I was still running for the right reasons, and felt fortunate that my mind and spirit were along for the fun. I was already looking forward to the next one!

Anne and Mark Lundblad Sweep 2007 50-mile USATF Championship

The ultra-amazing Lundblads from Asheville, NC, swept the USATF 50-mile Road Championship at the Mountainback 50 in central Pennsylvania’s scenic Rothrock State Forest this weekend. Anne Riddle Lundblad, 41, broke the women’s course record by more than eight minutes with a time of 6:36:16, and her husband, Mark, won the race in 6:03.

You can read more about their adventure (and the unfortunate collision with a deer by 2nd place woman Missy Foy) here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Corfield's Super Fuel Powers Him To 3rd Place at the Leadville 100

Boulder's Daily Camera did a great interview with surprise 3rd place Leadville 100 finisher, 48-year-old Charles Corfield. He finished in an amazing 19:42 in his first attempt. You can read the full article here.

(Charles Corfield sports his Leadville trophy, photo courtesy of Mark Leffingwell/Daily Camera)

Some great quotes from the article:

After a little research, Corfield says he arrived at his own, personal "rocket fuel" formula that keeps him going and, just as importantly, aids in a speedy recovery. "If you want to get carbohydrates in your system, maltodextrin is the best way I know," he says. His formula (see box) also includes whey protein and water, and he also crushes up a Rolaids for magnesium and calcium, and adds different flavoring for variety.

"I think having been exposed to people like Dave Mackey, Buzz Burrell, Darcy Africa, Peter Bakwin, Stephanie Ehret and Lisa Goldsmith certainly has a ruboff effect," he says. "I don't claim to be that good, but these are all unassuming people you can meet on the street who are superstars. That's actually quite inspirational to the rest of us."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Biomechanics of Women's Breast Movement During Running

Joanna Scurr, a biomechanics professor at the University of Portsmouth in England has been studying the biomechanics of breast movement during running, and the effectiveness of various bra technology in minimizing the movement.

(Professor Scurr measures breast movement with the use of eight motion detectors;
photo courtesy of the University of Portsmouth)

Some interesting facts from her study:

1) During walking exercise, the women's breasts moved relatively the same amount in all directions. But when participants sped up to a jog or run, their breasts moved proportionally more in some directions than others: More than 50 percent of the total movement was in the up-down direction, 22 percent side-to-side and 27 percent in-and-out.

2) The overall pattern of the movement resembled a figure-8.

3) An estimated 50 percent of women experience breast pain during exercise. Yikes!

4) Typical bras are made to reduce up and down movement. So-called "encapsulation" bras are a bit better than "compression" bras at reducing movement in other directions - in A-cup women, wearing a sports bra reduced overall breast movement by 53 percent, compared with a 55-percent reduction for G-cup women.

Holy cow! Could it possibly be true that there is that much movement? If so, that's gotta hurt. Particularly for ultra-distance athletes. Before I caught myself staring at all women on my next run to "confirm the facts", I thought I would look for some online video. A quick video of Pamela Anderson is "enlightening" (women, please excuse my dudeness - really, it's for science!):

Professor Scurr is now working with apparel manufacturers to put her study into new products, so perhaps more advanced help is on the way. In the meantime, Coach Wendy at Trifuel has an informative article on choosing a jog bra here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Japan Sweeps the 100k World Championships

Shinichi Watanabe (6:23:21) and Norimi Sakuri (7:00:27, a new world record) won the 100k World Championships in the Netherlands this weekend, leading the Japanese team to sweep both the Men's and Women's division. Outstanding performances by USA runners included Howard Nippert (8th), Greg Crowther (11th, click here for his report), Chad Ricklefs (17th), Kami Semick (9th), Devon Crosby-Helms (15th, click here to read her report), and Julie Udchachon (16th). Six of nine US runners clocked PR's, and the US Men's brought home the bronze!

(World Champion Shinichi Watanabe, all photos courtesy of Meijco van Velzen)

(Japan showed discipline early one by pacing as a team)

Men's (full results here)

1 117 Watanabe, Shinichi JPN M20 X 6:23:21
2 118 Nakanishi, Kenji JPN M20 X 6:30:21
3 160 Kharitonov, Oleg RUS M35 X 6:30:22
4 159 Tyazhkorob, Igor RUS M35 X 6:42:30
5 155 Izmaylov, Alexey RUS M35 X 6:45:10
6 149 Lukes, Martin NZL M35 X 6:46:50
7 74 Fetizon, Pascal FRA M45 X 6:47:10
8 195 Nippert, Howard USA M40 X 6:49:31
9 109 Boffo, Marco ITA M20 X 6:51:36
10 95 Zabari, János HUN M35 X 6:52:31
11 196 Crowther, Greg USA M20 X 6:52:52
12 121 Shinohara, Mitsuru JPN M40 X 6:54:32
13 70 Bachelier, Christophe FRA M40 X 6:58:30
14 123 Matsushita, Takehiro JPN M20 X 6:58:53
15 72 Bretaud, Bernard FRA M40 X 6:59:34
16 75 Lacombe, Regis FRA M40 X 7:00:12
17 198 Ricklefs, Chad USA M40 X 7:01:10
18 77 Bragg, Jeremy GBR M20 X 7:03:12
19 82 Hooss, Jörg GER M40 X 7:04:26
20 14 Cochrane, Tim AUS M20 X 7:08:19
21 60 Verge, Ricard ESP M20 X 7:08:25
22 84 Kersten, Sven GER M35 X 7:11:35
23 85 Dehaut, Helmut GER M45 X 7:12:01
24 122 Kobayashi, Yoshiaki JPN M20 X 7:12:08
25 107 Ardemagni, Mario ITA M40 X 7:13:46
26 125 Matsubara, Hajime JPN M35 X 7:14:00
27 61 Romero, Ludisvindo ESP M35 X 7:18:26
28 158 Vishnyagov, Alexader RUS M20 X 7:20:58
29 104 Rea, Martin IRL M20 X 7:21:42
30 66 Ahola, Asmo FIN M40 X 7:23:04
31 79 Harwood, Paul GBR M35 X 7:23:38
32 151 Elwart, Roma POL M35 X 7:24:08
33 116 Malfatti, Pio ITA M45 X 7:25:45
34 16 Benson, Darren AUS M20 X 7:27:44
35 145 Gilberg, Runar NOR M40 X 7:28:19
36 1 Lust, Veron NED M40 X 7:29:33
37 103 Maguire, Thomas IRL M20 X 7:31:05
38 114 Sartori, Stefano ITA M40 X 7:35:36
39 105 Collins, Michael IRL M40 X 7:37:57
40 115 Di Toma, Diego ITA M35 X 7:38:07
41 15 Cook, Dean AUS M20 X 7:38:31
42 157 Spiridonov, Vasily RUS M20 X 7:42:49
43 108 Bernabei, Andrea ITA M35 X 7:45:46
44 49 Oralek, Daniel CZE M35 X 7:46:53
45 124 Takada, Yoshiki JPN M20 X 7:47:15
46 67 Ahola, Arto FIN M45 X 7:48:30
47 47 Krejci, Jiri CZE M40 X 7:48:50
48 42 Bentley, Darin CAN M35 X 7:49:22
49 147 Sørstad, Gjermund NOR M20 X 7:49:45
50 20 Taelman, Lucien BEL M50 X 7:50:13

(Norimi Sakurai clocks a World Record 100k time)


1 261 Sakurai, Norimi JPN W35 X 7:00:27 (WR)
2 230 Fricotteaux, Laurence FRA W35 X 7:26:44
3 262 Sho, Hiroko JPN W35 X 7:27:12
4 283 Myshlyanova, Marina RUS W40 X 7:39:18
5 251 Carlin, Monica ITA W35 X 7:40:36
6 232 Reymonenq, Magali FRA W35 X 7:42:51
7 240 Schönherr-Hölscher, Birgit GER W35 X 7:47:02
8 244 Gross, Martina GER W45 X 7:50:56
9 290 Semick, Kami USA W40 X 7:51:54
10 250 Crossan, Helena IRL W40 X 7:52:45
11 237 Salt, Adela GBR W20 X 7:54:21
12 264 Izutsu, Kazuho JPN W40 X 7:57:32
13 233 Signorio-Badacchino, PatriciaFRA W40 X 8:02:48
14 263 Yamazawa, Yoko JPN W35 X 8:04:35
15 295 Crosby-Helms, Devon USA W20 X 8:06:20
16 292 Udchachon, Julie USA W35 X 8:14:04
17 242 Braun, Marion GER W50+ X 8:14:46
18 291 Gardner, Connie USA W40 X 8:15:14
19 293 Smith, Carolyn USA W40 X 8:16:17
20 252 Cavalli, Giovanna ITA W45 X 8:16:21
21 253 Da Forno, Daniela ITA W35 X 8:18:33
22 269 Ozawa, Mariko JPN W40 X 8:18:55
23 266 Oyagi, Wakako JPN W20 X 8:23:15
24 277 Broadwell, Sharon NOR W45 X 8:23:53
25 254 Di Vito, Lorena ITA W40 X 8:26:27
26 220 Dick, Jennifer CAN W20 X 8:26:57
27 229 Skau, Maren DEN W20 X 8:33:43
28 268 Kondo, Kazuko JPN W50+ X 8:37:02
29 257 Barchetti, Monica ITA W35 X 8:43:24
30 255 Monari, Roberta ITA W35 X 8:43:38
31 265 Okayasu, Tazu JPN W20 X 8:45:03
32 245 Mallmann, Barbara GER W35 X 8:54:32
33 278 Heienberg, Anne-Marie NOR W45 X 8:54:41
34 248 Wermescher, Ildikó HUN W40 X 8:59:22
35 287 Rysina, Irina RUS W50+ X 9:09:50
36 267 Nose, Yuki JPN W35 X 9:14:09
37 222 Perz, Marianne CAN W35 X 9:19:20
38 249 Farkas, Gabriella HUN W20 X 9:19:44
39 259 Ceretto, Sonia ITA W20 X 9:19:44
40 243 Stöppler, Simone GER W40 X 9:22:53
41 203 Spoelder, Majet NED W35 X 9:25:21
42 279 Hongseth, Nina NOR W20 X 9:32:26
43 212 Nobbs, Deanne AUS W35 X 9:38:40
44 247 Lubics, Szilvia HUN W20 X 9:40:23
45 217 Morreel, Anke BEL W20 X 9:47:36
46 246 Bontovics, Timea HUN W35 X 9:48:59
47 223 Burchat, Paula CAN W35 X 9:52:49
48 286 Savoskina, Svetlana RUS W40 X 9:54:15
49 216 Foster, Chris BEL W40 X 9:57:01
50 225 Baresova, Milada CZE W20 X 10:07:39
51 215 Vandewaetere, Dora BEL W45 X 10:08:39
52 228 Prochazkova, Pavlina CZE W40 X 10:29:20
53 211 Kartsounis, Viviene AUS W40 X 11:02:28

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Andy Jones Wilkins wins the Grand Teton 100-miler

AJ Wilkins added a win at the Grand Teton 100-miler this weekend (19:35, taking four hours off the course record) to match his win at the Vermont 100-miler and 4th place finish at Western States. What a season! Check out his blog entry to hear about the perfect race conditions, 20,000 feet of climbing, and the magic of Pringles when your stomach turns.
(Andy Jones Wilkins at the 2007 Grand Teton 100-miler, photo courtesy of Dreamchaser Events)

Matthew Hart of Seattle, WA, also beat the former course record with his second place finish in 20:53. Laurie Anderson of Jackson Hole, WY, won the Women's division in 27:45. Tim Arrington of Driggs, ID, won the 50-miler in 8:34, while Keri Wheeler of Jackson Hole, WY, won the Women's division in 9:15.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Thomas Reiss Blasts Into the Ultra Scene (An Interview)

39-year-old Thomas Reiss seems to have come out of nowhere to make his mark in ultrarunning this year. The San Luis Obispo, CA resident and German native had serious natural talent at the marathon, with a Tahoe Triple win in 2005 and 2nd place in 2006 (combined time of 8:42 for three marathons), and a PR 2:32 at the Silicon Valley Marathon in 1998. In 2007, he used that speed to make a stunning entry into the ultra scene, with wins at the Jed Smith 50k (3:12:32), Ruth Anderson 50m (5:56, course record), Quicksilver 50k (4:04), and most recently the Tahoe Rim Trail 50m (8:10, just 3 minutes off the course record).

(Thomas is all smiles at the beginning of the 2006 Tahoe Triple;
all photos courtesy of Thomas Reiss and family)

I wasn't the first to wonder "who is this guy blowing by me?", and was able to catch up with him as he recovers from TRT.

1) First, congrats on your win at TRT! That is definitely one of the more challenging terrains you have tackled in your short ultra career. How did the race go for you?

Challenging is the right word. I never really felt that good. I went into it hoping to feel like a Sunday long jog for the 1st third of the race, feel good and easy, then get into tempo mode in the middle and race the last 3rd. I am not sure if it was the altitude or the terrain but I just did not feel that great. That said, I was very happy with the outcome and the time I ran. It all worked out at the end.

2) What got you into ultras this year? What has been the biggest challenge in moving up from the marathon?

I was always fascinated by ultras, even before I moved to the USA from Germany 11 years ago. I ran quite a bit with Charly Doll (the first German to win Comrades) and thought this is pretty cool. I never made the move to ultras early on and actually only ran 2 marathons in my life before Tahoe Triple. Mostly I raced half marathons and the 10k. The marathons I ran were in 1990 and one in 1998.

6 years ago I stopped running until I heard about the Tahoe Triple in 2005 and decided to try that kind a race. I did the triple again in 2006 and also decided in 2006 to give this Ultra thing a try. So far things have apparently been going great with 4 starts and 4 wins.

(Thomas on his was to a course-record win at the 2005 Tahoe Triple)

3) What are your 10k and half marathon PR’s?

1.09.34 for the half and 31.51 for the 10k.

4) What is training like in San Luis Obispo (SLO)? Are there enough hills to be ready for courses like Quicksilver and TRT?

Not really, we have very few real hardcore hilly single track trails here. So often I run a trail loop several times up and down and around. The longest climb is around 3 miles with 1000 feet.

5) I was able to meet your wife and kids at TRT this year. What do they think of all this crazy running?

My wife (Valerie) is great, she is the one always encouraging me when I am down and frustrated and talk about quitting. My kids are 2 and 4 and they love it. When I do a long run and come by my house they set up aid stations and always cheer me on. Since we are back from TRT they are running around the house arguing about who is a 50-miler and who is a 100-miler.

(Thomas gears up for the 2007 TRT 50-miler;
his forearm tattoo has the names of his two sons, Dylan and Luke)

6) Can you tell us a bit about your training regiment? What does a typical week look like for you?

I normally run 4-6 times a week, between 50-70miles. Before a big race I crank it up for about 6-8 weeks up to 90-120 miles. Most of the time I do a 2.50-3 hour marathon once a month and a long 30-40 mile run once a month. Once a week I do some kind of speed / tempo workout. I also try to run on the surface that the upcoming race is on. So before TRT I ran as much as possible on trails.

After a hard race I always take 2 weeks super easy with running 4-6 miles every other day or less depending on how hard the race was.

7) Do you have a coach?

Not really, I write up my own schedule and then run it by my running partner and motivator Linda Somers Smith (former Olympic marathoner), Sean Meissner also helps me with advice and usually I get some feedback on my plans from Karl King from Succeed.

(Thomas blazes the trail near the turnaround at the 2007 TRT 50)

8) What are your favorite foods for training and running?

That is my weakest spot. I do not really watch my diet and learned some hard lessons in my first races regarding hydration etc. Karl King from Succeed has been a huge help in getting me on the right track. So during TRT I used Succeed Ultra, Amino and S-Caps plus GU’s. Plus the pre-race and recovery vitamins. I need to start experimenting with solid foods if I move up to the 100.
9) What motivates you the most to get out there and run?

I am very driven and competitive by nature, and I know that to be good at ultrarunning you have to go out and put the effort in. Plus I have met some great people through running and made some awesome friends.

(Thomas brings home the win at the 2007 TRT 50)

10) What do the folks at work think? What do you do for work?

I am creative director and owner of a high end design and branding firm ( here in San Luis Obispo. My employees love it and are very interested and supportive, so are our clients. But I also know they all think I am crazy.

11) Any races planned for the rest of 2007? Where will we see you next?

I am planning on Tahoe Triple then JFK 50. After that I am planning on running the Orange Curtain 100k (a road ultra) in Long Beach, CA in February '08 to try to qualify for the 100k World Championship. After that I would like to run Way to Cool if I get in. Not sure what after that, a lot will depend if I qualify for the road 100k world cup.

12) Any chance we'll get you in the 100-miler division?

Yes, it will be the logical next step. It is the ultimate ultra race. Like running half marathons and 10k's when the real deal is the marathon, I think it is like that with the 50k and 50mile and the real deal is the 100miles. I would love to run Western States at one point as my first 100. I was always fascinated by that race. I am not sure about when. Maybe in a couple of years.

13) Are you currently running for a team?

Not right now but I would love to be part of a good ultra team. I have always been on a team when I used to race the shorter races and I really miss the team aspect - going to races meeting the rest of the team and supporting each other is just great. So if you know of any team who is adding to their roster let me know!

(Thomas enjoys the view of Emerald Bay on the last leg of the 2005 Tahoe Triple)

14) Will you be focused on road or trail ultras moving forward?

Short term I will be doing both. I still would like to make it to worlds in the road 100k and get a good 100k road PR so I may do that plus several trail races. I would guess next year am doing 2 road races and 4 trail races. Long term I think it will be definitely trail.

15) What else would you like to accomplish in ultrarunning over the next few years?

Honestly I am not sure. I am still a rookie at this and don’t even know yet the full extent of my goals and capabilities. One of the great things about continuing in this sport is that you learn so much about yourself with every race. I hope I keep meeting more cool inspiring people. I love becoming part of this great ultrarunning community.

Thanks for the interview, Thomas! Looking forward to seeing you out on the trails.

- SD