Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The North Face 50m Championship in SF Has INSANE Elite Field - GAME ON!

The elite field for the North Face Endurance Challenge Gore-Tex 50-Mile Championship in San Francisco, CA, was recently released and...holy speedskates, it's a showdown! I'm seriously eating crow from my premature post last month. The prize purse remains one of the biggest in the sport - $10k for first, $4k for second, $1k for third for both men and women.

For the men, you've got the top 3 finishers from 2012 returning - former winner Miguel Heras, Francois D'Haene, and Cameron Clayton - as well as Sage Canaday, Max King, Dakota Jones, Tim Olson, Rob Krar, Dave Mackey, Hal Koerner, Rickey Gates, Mike Foote, Team inov-8's Gary Gellin and USATF Trail Marathon Champion Alex Nichols, Jorge Marvilla (with a recent 1:09 finish at the Berkeley Half Marathon), Ryan Sandes, Dave Riddle, Jason Schlarb (5 wins this year!), Mike Wolfe, Michael Wardian, Jason Wolfe, Karl Meltzer, and MORE. Incredible line up!

The women's competition is similarly stacked. 2012 winner Emilie Fosberg is back, as is 2nd place finisher Stephanie Howe, and they will be running with Rory Bosio (winner and CR at UTMB in Sept), Anna Frost, Olympian Magdelena Boulet, USATF 50-mile champion Cassie Scallon, USATF 100k champion Michele Yates, Jenn Shelton, Mexico's Silvia Correa Jimenez, Jennifer Benna, Aliza Lapierre, Joelle Vaught, and the list goes on.

It's going to be a barn burner! Hope to see you there. If you are out there taking pictures, be sure to post them on Instagram/Twitter/Vine with the tag @thenorthface and #ECSChampionship between Dec 4-11 to be eligible for North Face prizes.

And good luck, everyone!

Full list:

GORE-TEX 50 MILE - ELITE WOMEN
FIRST NAMELAST NAMECITYSTATE
AshleyArnoldCarbondaleCO
Cynthia LaurenArnoldLexingtonKY
JenniferBennaRenoNV
LyneBessetteTopsfieldMA
MelanieBosKelownaBritish Columbia
RoryBosioTruckeeCA
MagdalenaBouletOaklandCA
KerrieBruxvoortBroomfieldCO
ChristinaClarkGuelphCanada
SilviaCorrea JimenezMexico Distrito FederalMexico
LaurenDilsKentfieldCA
EmelieForsbergTromsFrance
SheriFosterCalgaryCanada
AnnaFrostMetz TessyFrance
BrandiGarciaAtlantaGA
JaimeGileFayettevilleAR
KelseyGrayKalamazooMI
RachelHansonFlower MoundTX
CharmaineHorsfallLeedsUK
StephanieHoweBendOR
AndreaJarzombek-HoltPortlandOR
AnnaJefferisSanta BarbaraCA
CatrinJonesVictoriaBritish Columbia
MeganKimmelSilvertonCO
MeganLaibSanta MonicaCA
AlizaLapierreWillistonVT
SarahLavalleeKailuaHI
KristinaLewisBoulderCO
GinaLucreziCarbondaleCO
SallyMcRaeAliso ViejoCA
SimoneMoroBergamoItaly
EricaNambaBerkeleyCA
MaggieNelsenEncinitasCA
RachelPaquetteVictoriavilleCanada
AmyPhillipsEl Dorado HillsCA
CassandraScallonBoulderCO
JennSheltonDurangoCO
DianeVan DerenSedaliaCO
JoelleVaughtBoiseID
KatieWaddenVancouverCanada
MicheleYatesLittletonCO
GORE-TEX 50 MILE - ELITE MEN
FIRST NAMELAST NAMECITYSTATE
JoshuaArkinsRogersAR
FlorentBouguinQu├ębecCanada
DylanBowmanMill ValleyCA
NoahBrautigamTruckeeCA
Scott BreedenBloomingtonIN
SageCanadayBoulderCO
AdamCampbellNorth SaanichCanada
FrankCaroVenturaCA
JayCechPortlandOR
CameronClaytonBoulderCO
JeremyCleggNanaimoCanada
FrancoisD'haeneSt JulienFrance
GeradDeanMount ShastaCA
FelixDejeyMetz TessyFrance
ScottDunlapWoodsideCA
FritjofFagerlundUppsalaSweeden
JohnFinnEl CerritoCA
ChristianFittingBerkeleyCA
MattFlahertyBloomingtonIN
MikeFooteMissoulaMT
MartinGaffuriAnnecyFrance
RickeyGatesSan FranciscoCA
GaryGellinMenlo ParkCA
SjaanGerthTorontoCanada
RyanGhelfiAshlandOR
NealGormanCharlottesvilleVA
JeffGosselinQuebecCanada
JonathanGundersonSan FranciscoCA
ChrisHauthSan FranciscoCA
MiguelHeras HernandezBejarSpain
PeterHoggLivoniaMI
DakotaJonesBoulderCO
MaxKingBendOR
HalKoernerAshlandOR
JoshuaKornOgdenUT
DanielKraftGrand JunctionCO
RobertKrarFlagstaffAZ
MarcLavesonSan FranciscoCA
DaveMackeyBoulderCO
JorgeMaravillaVallejoCA
KarlMeltzerSandyUT
AlexNicholsColorado SpringsCO
TimothyOlsonAshlandOR
MichaelOwenPomeroyOH
DavidRiddleCincinnatiOH
DannyRogersMcLeanVA
PhilSandersonSan FranciscoCA
RyanSandesCape TownSouth Africa
JasonSchlarbMissoulaMT
BobShebestWindsorCA
BrianTinderFlagstaffAZ
GeorgeTorgunBerkeleyCA
RiccardoTortiniHoughtonMI
ChrisVargoColorado SpringsCO
ManuelaVilasecaRio De JaneroBrazil
ZachViolettBendOR
GregoryVollettMetz TessyFrance
JamesWalshEncinitasCA
MichaelWardianArlingtonVA
JeremyWolfMissoulaMT
JasonWolfeFlagstaffAZ
MikeWolfeMissoulaMT

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Distance Invites Demons


Distance running is a journey that invites, if not demands, considerable self-reflection. I suspect it is why many of us gratefully push past hour two of a run on a regular basis - as the miles pile on, you soon exhaust the relentless hamster wheel of work/kid/life self-smalltalk that consumes our brains day-to-day, freeing your mind to pursue more meaningful questions unshackled. The longer the run, and the farther into nature you explore, the deeper you permit yourself to dig into the soul and find what awaits. If the journey is long enough, even the most dormant of demons will pop up and join you for a few miles. Distance will always invite demons with arms wide open.

Distance can wear many faces too, I have recently learned. A few months ago, I was given a career opportunity one sees rarely in a lifetime – come join a growing company of amazing mobile rock stars that find themselves in the eye of the greatest technology shift the world has ever seen. Just one catch, the commute is a tad long…about 2,245 miles to be exact. To do the job right, while keeping the family as happy as possible, meant working in Pittsburgh, PA, and living in Woodside, CA. Christi, my wife and career consigliore of 20+ years, sized it up similarly, and with the GAME ON nod of her head, distance invited itself into our lives in a whole new dimension.

In retrospect, it was a bit foolish of me to think that long runs might somehow prepare me for the solitude that creeps up when you work away from home. When you run, you invite solitude into your life, and in that sense control it. When you spend 4-5 nights a week in a hotel room away from your family, your bed, and the home trails that keep you grounded, solitude soon controls you.

Not at first, of course. In the first few nights, you secretly revel in your newfound freedom. No snoring pugs hogging the covers, no screaming kids needing baths mid-meltdown, not having to ask permission for a quick run….heck, you don’t even have to pick up the towels. For the first week or two, you feel like pinching yourself every morning. And THEN you order room service! Word.

video

But by week three, you begin to miss those familiar burdens. The snoring dog who warms your legs, assuring you with the harmonious purr of a dozen face folds that you are at home with your pack. The kids that always need you do actually need you, and their absence forces the realization of how fulfilling that truly is. The hotel room that snaps back to its sterile and apathetic state of cleanliness every day at 10am begins to feel like a bad looping video or a glitch in the Matrix, adding a touch of anxiety to the quiet. With all the time on your hands, the solitude consumes you.

The trails, however, are always good for reprieve and it didn’t take long for me to find the gold and orange hills of Schenley Park, Frick Park, and the river trails just outside of my regular hotel. The autumn colors of Pittsburgh are breathtaking, and I soon found a morning ritual of getting lost in the hallows as the morning sun chased away the frost and filled the campuses with young and vibrant smiles. For a few hours a day, it was a much-needed sanctuary.

(Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA)
But after a month away from home, separateness settled in like some new form of gravity. Phone calls from the family came less often, their lives naturally adapting without my presence. FaceTime video calls lost their novelty, and contact with my family became little more than Instagram photos and one sentence updates at a regularity I share with Facebook friends I’ve never met. I even felt lonely at home, out of touch with their day-to-day lives, little more than a ghost in their busy weekend rituals. FUCK. NOT HOW I SAW THIS PLAYING OUT.

Then in a single moment of clarity, all that anxiety disappeared. After a Saturday morning 10-miler in the hills of Woodside, I returned home to see Christi and the girls through the front window laughing, having breakfast, and playing with the dogs. They were happy. Like, crazy happy. In fact, I was the only one choosing to be anything less than gleeful. ME. BY CHOICE.

A beat, a pause, a breath…aahhh. A “long run revelation” for sure. I am out of The Pit.

(My girls)
Then Quinn, our almost-3-year-old caught sight of me, and pressed her face to the glass with a smile full of drool, bouncing enough to attract 7-year-old Sophie and the dogs who soon steamed the windows with their anticipation. I pressed my face right back, humbled by every precious second I have to share with them. I am happy too.

Pittsburgh greets me with a smile now too these days. My coworkers have become friends, a little retail therapy got me a fresh and Pittsburgh-ready wardrobe (wakka-ow!) to explore the neighborhoods, and I no longer need a map to find my favorite trails even in the dark. Family vacations are revered with renewed anticipation, and I find myself delighted with the warmth of California winter weather that weeks ago felt like it chilled to the bone. My runs have again become a place to explore, not escape. Life, once more, seems full of potential and poetry as far as I can dream.

(New city duds - it's all about layers!)
I may have run with my demons for a stretch, but I’ve found a new gear now and dropped those bastards. They never could pace the long runs anyway. ;-)

Kiss your lovies, everyone. See you on the home trails, East or West.

 - SD

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ultra Race Lotteries for 2014 - Adventure Awaits! Western States Lottery Going Now...


It's lottery season again in the world of ultrarunning! Time to put your name in the hat for your favorite races and see how the Lottery Gods determine your fate! The Western States 100m lottery is on right now (already nearing 2,200 entries), and given the changes for 2015, it will be the last year you can qualify with a 50-miler. So don't hesitate - put your name in!

Below are a few links to popular races that have lotteries (and a few that don't...yet):

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, June 28, 2014 (Lottery Nov 9-16, Drawing Dec 7)

Way Too Cool 50k, March 8, 2014 (Lottery Dec 2-8, Drawing Dec 10)

Lake Sonoma 50m, April 12, 2014 (No lottery - reg opens Dec 15)

Miwok 100k, May 3, 2014 (Lottery Dec 1-10, Drawing Dec 12)

Massanutten 100, May 17, 2014 (Lottery Jan 1-8, Drawing Jan 10)

Mt. Washington Road Race, June 15, 2014 (Lottery Feb 14-March 14, Drawing March 15)

Hardrock 100, July 11, 2014 (Lottery Now-Dec 1, Drawing Dec 7)

Tahoe Rim Trail 100m, July 19, 2014 (Lottery Dec 7-21, Drawing Dec 22)

Badwater 135, July ~15, 2014 (Lottery/app Jan 20-Feb 1, Selection Feb ~15)

Vermont 100, July ~20, 2014 (No lottery - reg opens around Jan 1)

Leadville 100, Aug 16, 2014 (No lottery - reg opens Jan 1)

Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, Aug 30, 2014 (Registration Dec 19-Jan 5, Lottery selection Jan 15 if needed)

Wasatch 100, September 5, 2014 (Lottery Dec 1-Jan 6, Drawing Feb'ish)

Ironman Hawaii World Championship, Oct 11, 2014 (Lottery Now-Feb 28, Drawing April 15)