|Debbie racing the Bootlegger 50k. Photo: Kristen Wilson Photography|
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Friday, November 6, 2015
Monday, November 2, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
Monday, October 5, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
So what the heck is a ¾ year in review? It’s a legit question. My desire to write this now is twofold. First, I haven’t written a single race report this year, so this is my last ditch effort to share my experiences from this year’s races before they escape my mind completely. Secondly, I’ve come to a resting point in my running for the year. I’ve been training and racing consistently for the last seven months and needed some time away from running to rest the body and recharge the soul. I plan on running North Face 50 in December, so I’ll wait until October before ramping up running specific training.
Injury – The start of 2015
I spent the first couple months of 2015 training in the gym. In October I fell into a ditch during an early morning tempo run and bashed my knee requiring eight stitches. What I thought was going to be a week or two away from running turned into 3 months of little to no running. Some tendonitis had developed in the knee and it bothered me when I ran, so I did the elliptical and quad strengthening to try to get myself back to running. Finally in February, I was able to run consistently again with the knee pain relegated to more of the nuisance level versus being a hindrance.
New Zealand - March
After delaying the trip for a month due to my knee injury, I was finally able to feel confident about an intense two week running trip in March. I flew into Christchurch and met up with my best bud Jason Schlarb and familiar friends and videographers Joel Wolpert and Bobby Jahrig who would be filming the trip.
The next two weeks were a whirl wind of big
days running on breathtaking trails and rallying in the motor home to the next
trail head by night. We were fortunate
to run in perhaps the most geographically diverse place or earth, with the likes
of Anna Frost, Grant Guise, and Vajin Armstrong giving us the locals tour. The Kiwi Tracks film turned out to be a
visually stunning portrait of New Zealand trail running. You can catch the 28
min feature film (paid) and 5 min Kiwi Tracks Bromance Edit (free) at
|Schlarb and I ready to embark on the 33.5 mile Milford Track requiring a boat ferry on each end. Photo: Joel Wolpert|
This year was one of transition for me in the world of ultra-running. In my first two years at the ultra distance, I’d never raced longer than 50k. This year I made the move towards longer distance ultras by racing 50 mile and 100k races. My main motivators for selecting races this year were driven by two factors. First, race in high profile and competitive races. I want to see how I stack up against elite fields and have great support from Hoka One One encouraging and allowing me to travel to such races. Secondly, I selected races in locations where I wanted to run, places that inspired me. Last year I raced the U.S. Skyrunning series and I found myself running races just because they were in the series and I needed to run them to earn points. Towards the end of the series racing felt forced, and that's never a great motivator. So the criteria this year was basically, competitive, inspiring location, and enough time to recover from the previous race. This also meant that I would be moving on from Speedgoat and The Rut for a change of scenery after racing both the previous two years.
Lake Sonoma 50 mile - April
With two months of running under my belt it was time to toe the line at my first 50 miler. Lake Sonoma is arguably the most competitive 50 miler in the U.S. and unfortunately I didn’t feel like I was coming in with my A game. The start line was a who’s who of the ultra-running scene. It was good to catch up with four of my Hoka teammates and spend some miles racing with Mike Wardian and Karl Meltzer. The course is an out and back along the rolling hills surrounding Lake Sonoma.
My plan was to go out conservatively and
hopefully be able to pick off the carnage on the return trip to the
finish. The speedsters took the race out
quickly and I settled around 18th place for the first 25 miles of
the race. After half way I was feeling
good and one by one started passing guys who were paying the price from a fast
start. By the mile 38 aid station the
carnage was becoming apparent. Both Rob
Krar and Mike Aish were sitting there having called it a day and I left in 12th
place and each mile now becoming the farthest I’d ever run. Unfortunately at this point I started to get
some strong cramping in my right quad which shortened my stride and slowed me
down. Also at this time, I was passed
rapidly by the first female Stephanie Howe and Karl Meltzer. As those two pulled away, I focused on drinking
liquids and taking salt pills in hopes of getting rid to the quad cramp. Luckily, it subsided and I was able to pick
up the pace passing Karl and another runner with 5 miles to go. With about a mile to go I caught a glimpse of
Stephanie and pressed hard and passed her with a half mile to go. I finished in 11th place and was
pretty elated with my debut 50 miler. I
was particularly pleased with how I battled late in the race and was able to
The entire Lake Sonoma weekend was amazing. Traveling there from Missoula with Seth
Swanson, stopping by Hoka headquarters with my teammates, staying at a guest
house in a vineyard were some pretty big highlights outside of the race
itself. I certainly look forward to
returning to Lake Sonoma in 2016.
|Karl Meltzer, me, and Seth hanging at the start line. Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer|
|Lake Sonoma offers up a bunch of smooth rolling singletrack. Photo: Myke Hersmeyer|
|Had a blast racing with a my Hoka One One teammates. Brought me back to my team x-c days.|
It’s always nice to have a competitive trail race just down the road from home. As part of the La Sportiva Cup, Don’t Fence Me In annually fields top runners from Montana and a couple elite out of state runners competing in the Cup series. An added benefit to this years race was the Trails in Motion film screening the night before the race where I got to introduce Around Patagonia and field questions from the audience.
Being a runnable 30k, the race goes out hard from the start. I settled into 7th place and hovered around there for most of the race. After a big climb to start the race, the field bombed down the first downhill section of single track. As I got rolling I quickly noticed an ache feeling in both knees. The ache wasn’t necessarily slowing me down much, but it was enough to provide some mild discomfort.
I was looking forward to using my finishing time from this race to gauge my fitness relative to my 3rd place finish in 2013. With 2 miles to go in the race I faced an awkward sight of three race runners headed back up the trail towards me. They informed me that that course sabotage had occurred at the last trail junction and we’d ran over a half mile off course. As we worked our way back towards the junction a couple more runners came running towards us. As a group we remarked the flagging at the junction, removed the log someone had place over the correct trail, and continued toward the finish. Collectively we decided to jog across the finish line in the order we were when we went off course, so that meant I would be finishing in 6th today. As we jogged down Mt. Helena, the aching in my knees was intensifying and I was glad to not be bombing down at race pace. It ended up being a fun day on the trails, but the knee issue set me back and ended up keeping me out running for over a week and the Pengelly Double Dip a few weeks later.
Eiger Ultra Trail 101k - July
As much as I tried to wrap my head around running 63 miles with 22,000 ft. of elevation gain beforehand, I really couldn’t understand those numbers until I was in the thick of it. And by understand I mean more like how I underestimated those numbers.
I had spent most of June and July hiking up steep mountain trails using hiking poles opposed to running them. I knew I’d be relying on my upper body to propel me uphill just as much as my legs, so I wanted to get those muscles and coordination built up beforehand.
On race day the field lined up in the town of Grindelwald
for a 4:30am start. The iconic Eiger was
towering above. Off into the darkness we
went and as the hiking poles came out for the first steep ascent my headlamp
shined on a familiar mullet. Jason
Schlarb and I spend the next couple of miles together as the morning light
started to reveal the giant peaks surrounding us. As Jason took off towards to lead group, I
hovered comfortably around 15th place until the 20 km mark. At this point, my energy levels hit a low and
I was relegated to walking both on the uphills and downhills. Over the next 45 minutes 20-30 runners passed
me as I contemplated dropping out of the race.
I continued to consume gels, but they just didn’t provide a boost to my
energy levels. I finally decided to
consume some real food and pulled an Omnibar from my pack and ate it. Instantly, my energy level started to sky
rocket and I was able to return to running.
Ok, so maybe I could finish this thing.
The goal was no longer a competitive finish, but rather just get to the
|Met up with Schlarb in Switzerland. He would go on to crush this race, whereas this race crushed me.|
|The scenery was spectacular but it was hard to enjoy it when I just wanted this race to end.|
Looking back on that race, I am proud of just finishing. On a day where early on I knew it wasn’t going to be my day, I continued to press on one step at a time through some of the most beautiful yet demanding terrain I’ve ever been on. Questioning why I run ultras crossed my mind many times especially since I wasn’t enjoying the experience. I can’t say I have a great answer, for me it’s not about pushing through adversity or finding my limits. What this race did do for me was build confidence leading into other ultra races. Knowing that I had Squamish 50 mile in 5 weeks didn’t seem very intimidating knowing that I could push myself for 14 hours straight.
Snowbowl 15k - August
Running this race was a game time decision and I’m so glad I did. Runners Edge does a great job supporting the local trail running community and I wanted to support their inaugural event at Snowbowl ski area just 20 minutes from town. It is always amazing to see the high quality competition that shows up to a local Missoula trail race.
As we charged up the dirt roads to the top of
the mountain, Jason Delaney and Mike Wolfe pulled away out of sight. After 45 minutes of slowly grinding uphill I
crested the ridge and hopped on the single track descending back down to the
base of the ski hill. The next 4.5 miles
would prove to be the most fun running of the year. A gradually descending trail and a knee that
felt healthy allowed me to fly down the trail without caution. I literally had a smile on my face the whole
way down enjoying the windy single track.
I crossed the line in 2nd place, but more importantly I felt
rejuvenated with running. That decent
reminded me why I run. Flying freely
down the trail through the forest is one of my greatest pleasures in life and
one that has eluded me since my injury.
I left this race with a renewed joy for running and excitement for the
upcoming 50 miler two weeks away.
|At the start line with some strong local talent. Photo: Mom|
Squamish 50 mile - August
Heading into 2015, Squamish was the one race I knew for sure that I wanted to run. The photos I’d seen of the course showed lush rain forest and technical trails that just called to me. I knew it would be an environment that I rarely get to run in and was excited to toe the line with a competitive field of US and Canadian runners. The timing of this race was ideal allowing me to leave the smoke laden air of Missoula behind.
As had been a welcome theme to my 2015 races, I was racing with a friend from Missoula, this time Mike Foote. Mike and I spent the first couple hours running a relaxed pace with a lead group of four other runners. We were letting out cheers of excitement as we made our way into the lush winding single track that surrounds Squamish. The lead group steadily pulled away from me and I played leap frog with a few runners behind me throughout the rest of the day.
The kick in the but I needed was
jogging into the last aid station with seven miles to go, I heard the
volunteers cheering for “the first female” as I turned to see Cassie Scallion
right behind me. I quickly put down some
watermelon and orange slices and left the aid station with revitalized energy
and motivation to run hard to the finish.
I held my position and crossed the finish line in 6th place
giving race director Gary Robbins a high five.
It was great to see Gary out on the course throughout the first half of
the race cheering on the runners and getting a firsthand account of how his
race was playing out. He puts on a top
notch event with a great base of volunteers and unbelievably thorough course
marking that never left me wondering if I was on course.
|High fiven Smurfs and Dragons with Mike Foote on a not so glamorous section of the course. Photo: Bryan McCurdy|
|Sections like this boardwalk through the ferns are a true gem of the Squamish 50 course. Photo: Bryan McCurdy|
Overall 2015 has been a year where my stoke for running has burned a little less bright. I think having a slight, yet nagging injury throughout the year has had something to do with it. That being said, I am extremely grateful to my family and Hoka for providing me the opportunity to travel to far off places to run. After all, it is my hobby and what I love to do. I’m glad that they get to join me on some of these journey’s and look forward to the day of when I’m running with my daughter Autumn. Now after a month of very little running I can feel the stoke for hitting the trails burning brighter as the temperature dips, the colors change, and fall rolls around.
Website: wolfjeremy.com and schlarbwolf.com
|More stunning scenery from the Eiger Ultra Trail 101k.|
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
MTC Note: Over the years we've shared tales of epic adventure runs across the Bob Marshall Wilderness undertaken annually by groups of Missoula runners called "RATBOB" (run across the Bob Marshall Wilderness). "The Bob" is so big it spans from the mountains all the way to the prairie. Along the windswept Rocky Mountain Front an equally impressive adventure tradition is forming: RATBOB Prairie Faction. Here's how group of Montanans from the prairie took RATBOB inspiration and ran with it... through 56 miles of Wilderness!
RATBOB Prairie Faction
by Jake Babich
|The Chinese Wall - Credit: Kam Kidrick|
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Monday, August 31, 2015
Friday, August 28, 2015
The Continental Divide Route, Part 2
by Jeff Rome
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till
sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
The day dawned forever. Smoke had been creating a sepia toned world in the Rockies, and the difference between near and far is hue--the less color, the further away. I had a window seat on The International, a boat that crosses the Canadian-U.S. border eight times a day during the summer months, and looked out into the grey of the water and the grey of the air. It was 10:30 but still felt dawn, though I’d already been up for five hours.
|Waterton Lake, smoky and still|
Monday, August 24, 2015
Not too much racing happening in Montana this week, which is a good thing considering the forest fire smoke, but a few Montana runners managed to turn in some great performances elsewhere and a set of low-key ultras took place in the Tobacco Roots:
|Tyler Bucklin: a man on a mission--a 400-mile mission!|
Thursday, August 20, 2015
THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE ROUTE, Part 1
by Jeff Rome
I learned to backpack in Colorado, California, Arizona, through desert, canyons, timberline passes and rocky ridgelines. Food was kept in the tent, campsites required nothing more than clear and flat ground, and often the travels were thought of in terms of distance covered or elevation gained. In general, even the more extreme outings were well controlled excursions with predictable itineraries and Indian Summers. For the Continental Divide Route, all of this has helped only in the most elemental ways.
|Henry on the summit of Summit Mt. Light flurries of snow coming down.|
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
|Lots of smoke out there - 8/19/15 NOAA Smoke Analysis|
8/20 Update: A reader directed us to this useful link with updates from MT DEQ - http://www.deq.mt.gov/FireUpdates/BreakpointsRevised.mcpx and click on the link "recommendations for outdoor events"
Sunday, August 16, 2015
RATBOB 2015 by Steve Brown
In January the maps rolled out. Maps of the Bob appear on the kitchen table when the days grow short and the trails icy. After crossings by different routes of roughly 50 miles each the past two summers, was it possible to create another route of similar distance and matched scenery? Would anyone ante up for it? Was it possible to hoodwink drivers for another long shuttle circumnavigating a huge swath of the northern Rockies?
|Credit: Vo von Sehlen|
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Have you noticed Montana runners wearing Big Dipper Running uniforms and wondered what is the Big Dipper Running Team all about? August’s MTC Trail Chat is with Em Kendrick who is the Big Dipper Running Team manager. Em Kendrick has lived in Missoula with her husband, Tory, for 15 years. They have two daughters, Annika, 10, and Sylvie 7. Em works at the Runners Edge and is Assistant Cross-Country coach at Hellgate High School. Whenever I see Em, she always has a big smile on her face and her positive energy and enthusiasm is contagious. Em asked me if I wanted to join the Big Dipper Running Team early spring and I jumped at the opportunity since I love their homemade ice cream and want to support organizations that foster and promote community spirit and service.
From Left to Right: Heidi Gaskill, Emily Kipp, Charlie Beaton (Big Dipper owner), Anya Gue, Em Kendrick, Anna Doran, Marlie Johnson.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Friday, July 24, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
July’s MTC Trail Chat is with Henry Reich age 28. Henry burst into the local trail scene with his 2nd place at the competitive DFMI and a few weeks later won the tough Pengelly Double Dip. Henry is originally from Minnesota and moved to Missoula last fall. He ran at Grinnell College in Iowa (where he skipped a Rhodes Scholarship interview to run at DIII Cross Country Nationals). He Nordic skied competitively in high school in MN and also Nordic skied during graduate school at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He had a hiatus from athletic competition for a few years and then picked up Nordic ski racing again over the last few winters and recently started trail racing after moving to Missoula. He said “I'm excited to be back running more!”
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
On June 20th, I ran the Old Gabe for the fourth time. Back in 2004 it was my first 50k, and subsequently I’ve run it the last three years. Each year when I’m heading out of the Middle Cottonwood aid station for the second half of the race, I question what brings me back to this race. The Middle Cottonwood trailhead serves as the start, midpoint, and finish of the race, so that turnaround 17ish miles in is both mentally and physically challenging. It doesn’t help that the climb out of Middle Cottonwood towards Sypes Canyon is long and sustained. The Old Gabe is a tough 50k – with somewhere between 10,000 and 11,000 feet of vertical gain, very little of the course is flat. The terrain is spectacular, though, and I suppose that is one reason I’ve run this race so many times. Balsam root, bluebells, and shooting stars abound, and that much elevation gain brings with it expansive views of the Bridger Mountains and the Gallatin Valley. While the scenery and the mountainous course are part of what have kept me coming back, they aren’t the whole story.
Peder Anderson at 6:11 AM
Monday, June 29, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
|Heading toward the Bighorn Trail Run 50K finish line, Jesse Zentz gives friend Bridget Gerleman a thumbs up, despite feeling a little worse for wear. - Credit: Bridget Gerleman.|
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
|Katie Gibson on her way to a runner-up finish in the River of No Return 108K - Credit: Jobie Williams via Facebook|
Monday, June 15, 2015
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
June’s MTC interview is with 25 year old Corrine Malcolm from Bozeman. She is a runner and biathlete who just graduated from Montana State University with a degree in exercise science. Before heading to graduate school, Corrine took this year off from school to concentrate on coaching youth biathlon and running. She presently is working as a youth biathlon coach for the Bridger Biathlon Club in Bozeman. She said it took her 7 years to graduate from school, but she took 3.5 years off to race as a member of the US National Women’s Biathlon Team. Thank you Corrine for taking the time for a MTC interview.