Lake Sonoma 50, before and beyond

I think I missed a week, or 2 of updating this thing…but I was deathly ill so nothing fun to report anyway.  Luckily I started to turn a corner 4 days before Lake Sonoma.  I thought I was in danger of not starting,  I felt so bad on the Tuesday prior to the start.  That really bummed me out, I had been training really hard and consistently and I felt ready for the challenge of my first 50 miler

I trained and raced in my go to Altra Lone Peak 3.5s


Lake Sonoma starting area

I was able to get in 3 short runs and feel human in the last few days before the start. With my legs back under me  I had to adjust my goals and really gave myself the mission of finishing my first 50 miler.  But come on, its me, I wanted a performance based goal.  I broke the race into 4 sections.

section 1 roughly to the 12 mile mark…Todd Hennings would be there for a bottle swap and I wanted to be there between 1 hour 45 min and 20 hours.  I was there comfortably in 1:47:00, bam!  Happy as a clam, I saw Todd, grabbed the 2 bottles and ate a stroopwaffle. From there my next section goal was about 25.5 miles or the turn around loop aid station.  For this section I gave myself 2 hours to 2:10.  I was there in 2:03:00.  again, happy dude, saw Todd and grabbed some bottles and resupplied my gels.

Prior to the turn around, I started to see the leaders heading back.  I was around 30th place, but these runners were just amazing.  Some super focused, some spouting support and some a little grumpy.  I loved it all.  Like a fan boy a cheered them on.  Especially Ryan Ghelfi, Dave Laney (trails and tarmac dudes) and Jeffrey Stern of Rabbit.  But when I saw Hal Koerner all I could do was make a bowing gesture and blurt out”legend”….He just smiled and laughed and told me good job.  I am a dork…its ok.  But to me, that was like shooting warm up free throws with Jordan.  I was kind of there…only about 10 min behind him at that point. haha  Again, Stoke was high!


On the way back around mile 30 my left vastus medialis started to hurt running down hills, like really bad.  I was favoring the left leg and it started a series of breakdowns.  Obviously, when you start to favor something your pattern changes, so something else is about to get used more.  I was still rolling pretty good, but knew I would need to adjust my section 3 time goal.  Originally I wanted to get from mile 25.5 to mile 38 in 2 hours to 2:10.  I adjusted that by padding it with 20 min.  I think I got there in 2:23.  so still ok.  Now my quad was bad. I was having to skip, walk the downhills and I had started to get passed by folks.  Once to the aid station, I soaked my quad with cold water hoping it would provide some relief as the awesome aid station volunteers filled my bottles.  I left hoping for magic, but as soon as I crossed the creek and started the last 12 miles of the race I knew I was in trouble.  My right hamstring was now having a fireworks show… I shuffled/ walked.  As I continued on my IT bands started to hurt, like they didnt want to lengthen! I knew there was no good way out of this as I was committed to getting back to the finish and the van.  I had to walk a lot of the last section.  I should have been in around 8 hours to 8.5…took me 9.5.

9:33:30.  I was so upset with this time, this performance…I just hung my head as I crossed the line and went right to the van.  What was that all about?  Everyone was so happy and positive at the finish…I went back to the van and sat on the floor disappointed.  How could I possibly be disappointed?  I was on deaths door 4 days prior and that was my first 50 miler…..but my mind briefly told myself to not make excuses and that sucked.  oooh the struggle in my head.  As I sat on the floor mentally wrestling myself, Todd showed up at the van.  He cheered me right up as I thanked him for all of his help, I was now very excited to hear about his day and hear about his wife Erica’s progress on the course…all was good. Even when I had a few rounds of the dry heaves!


glued to the van floor in my new jacket

Todd kept me in good spirits as we joked and laughed and I got hot and then really cold and then hot and then cold….I settled down and was able to drink some fluids and even had some pizza.  Win win.  Erica came in a little later, What a champ, she had very little training and just got it done.  I was so stoked for her….Todd went right into taking care of her mode like a champ.   It was so great to hear about her day and she was so happy.  Win win win!

We all shared an entertaining dinner at a Thai place in Cloverdale, and I lucked out on nabbing the last hotel room around.  It was about 10 pm and I needed a shower and some sleep!

The next days drive took me north and then east through Hopland and Clearlake…no way I could take the traffic of the “faster route”.  much better re entry that way.

A few big nights of sleep and a pretty wicked appetite have left me feeling pretty good.  Legs feel 92% recovered…going to take it pretty easy this week, smash some work and think about what is next if anything before Tahoe Rim Trail 50 in July.


The last week of training for Lake Sonoma 50 Lots of Yuba for me

This week was the last week of “work” before I start the taper into Lake Sonoma 50 on 4/14

Miles ran: 62.3

Time on the feet running: 554 min

Vertical gain: 8500′

Shoes worn: 3 pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.5s

This past week was tough.  I spent a lot of time down at the Yuba, looking for vert for specific workouts, or terrain similar to that of the Lake Sonoma course.  From the get go, I felt a little flat.  I tried really hard to get recovery every way possible.  Easy runs were easy, naps were taken, good food was eaten, I even had a great session floating at Revival Float center.  I am sure all the effort to recover helped, but the first “workout” of the week and I didnt hit any stellar sensations.  Should that be expected at the end of a 3 week block?  I could see that, but I did expect a little more of myself.  Flared Nostrils proof of my efforts

I ran down to the Yuba at Jones bar as my warm up, then did 4 x 8 min “tough” efforts out, with 4 min recovery in between.  I started what felt conservative, so I could finish strong and not fade…I ran the first 3 pretty much equal, but the last one sucked.  the pace overall was slower than the usual. So I turned my attention to rest and recovery for the final big workout on Saturday.

A day off and a couple “easy” runs and Saturdays big run was upon me.  3.5 hours with 3.5 to 4.5 vert…back to the Yuba for me.  This time I drove down to Purdon Crossing to take advantage of the South Yuba trail to Edwards Crossing and Round Mountain trail.  This terrain is very similar to LS50.

From the get go I felt bad.  Actually threw up, well dry heaved at mile 3…the day didnt get any better.  I actually cant recall feeling that physically bad in my life ever.  I knocked out the vert and the time, but the sensations left me feeling pretty horrible.  I guess my take away is this; 3 week block of training, 60+ miles per week was a lot for me and I am frayed for sure.

Sunday I was able to get in a short easy run, just to make sure I could still run…I could, it was a miracle.  But the unraveling continues…I am now sick…uggg. run ragged right on the edge I guess.  Fingers crossed for a quick turn around.  health, Fresh legs and mind are all I need now.

side note, I happened upon a podcast from 2015 on ultrarunnerpodcast with Bob Shebest and I picked up 2 gems.  “I had a great 1st half…..”  means nothing in ultra running.  And you want to set yourself up to run the best part of the race in the last 25% of the race.

Well, I think I am skipping today’s run in hopes of getting rid of this cold……

Lake Sonoma Reconnoitering

3 weeks out from Lake Sonoma 50 update, here is the week by the #’s

Miles ran: 65.7

minutes ran:  595

vertical gain:  10069′

shoes used:  A mix of Altra Lone Peak 3.5s, 1 run in a pair of Superior 3.5s and 1 run in a pair of Olympus 2.5s

what other #s should I collect?

This week went pretty good, crushed a lot of work and took all my running in stride (hahah, see what I did there?)  The big excitement for the week was my long run last Saturday.  I participated in the organized, supported run on the Lake Sonoma 50 mile track.  We ran 25 miles, point to point, essentially exposing us to the entire route…since it is an out and back with a halfway loop.  Thankfully my buddy Jason Benford got a hall pass and joined me for the fun.  I decided to drive down Friday afternoon and camp at the Marina.  It is a 3.5 to 4 hour drive, so doing that the morning of was not going to happen. Jason rallied from his home late night and met up at the camp ground around 11:30.  I was asleep….Van camping is nice.  It rained all night and it rained hard.  It made me seriously contemplate turning the alarm OFF and blowing off the run.  I wasnt super pumped on being soaking wet and freezing for 4 to 5 hours.  Eventually I got those thoughts out of my head and fell back to sleep committed to reconnoitering this trail.

Morning came, it was cold…but my set up in the van allows for me to make coffee from the sleeping bag, so sweet.  I got my coffee and oatmeal made by 5 after 6 and still had not heard from Wolfman (Jason)  so I texted him.  I figured he had the same rain laden thoughts that I had all night…he responded to my text with a simple, “I am up”.  hahaha

Once we had some food and coffee and I got on my Lone Peak 3.5s on my feet we rallied to get over to the Finish, to drop a car and then get over to the start.  we had time in hand, but due to incorrect information on the run invite, we were almost late.  I think we were the last guys to the start and the last guys to get out on the trail.  It wasnt long before we connected up with groups of runners so no big deal

We ran the first 12 miles pretty chill moving forward through groups at a pretty casual pace.  We connected with a local, Kevin I think, for a nice run to the aid station.  We stopped, said hey, topped off the bottles and grabbed some GU before heading out for the second half of the route.  After a little gravel road section we headed up on single track.  I found myself running with a good rhythm and just kept that rolling.

This worked out pretty well in hind sight.  Even though it was somewhat unspoken, I figured Wolfman would be taking the 20 mile cutoff (as this was his longest run ever) and I wanted to see the whole 25.  It worked out almost perfectly where we ended up back at the finish van at a pretty similar time.  Actually, I am not sure how long before me Jason got there, but he had come down to the road crossing to meet me at the end.  We pretty much cleaned up and boogied out of there.  We both had to drive home still, but Wolfman knew of a great mexican spot in Healdsburg, so we stopped and got some burritos.  Hit the spot!  The  Drive home for me was pretty mellow, some traffic spots, but not too bad, I was just getting tired and oddly both my knees were aching.

What did I learn from getting on the track?  Well, I learned I dont know what to expect of myself.  The course is sneakily difficult and it is essentially 18 miles longer than I have ever raced.  I will be trying to come up with a good strategy in the coming weeks.  Until then, I hope to knock out this last week of training build before hitting the taper into race day.

Jason, thanks again for joining me, that made the trip so much better!

4 weeks to Lake Sonoma 50

We are 4 weeks out from race day at Lake Sonoma 50.  Training last week went pretty well, another piece of gear was tested and I am headed down to Sonoma this Weekend to get some miles on the course…everything seems to be on point.

Last weeks training stats:

miles: 62.2

time: 505 minutes

vert: 9312′

shoes:  I ran in 3 different pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.5s

I was pretty happy overall with how the running went.  I dont feel fast fast, like I did prior to Foresthill Divide 30km race back in February, but I understand that I am coming out of a recovery week and the second week of building…so I will take it.  Body is feeling pretty good.  Had a little back thing and the posterior tibia region is a little fired up, but I think I have a handle on it.

Some pics from last Saturdays run, I went down to the south fork of the Yuba river at Jones Bar 4 times and more importantly climbed out 4 times.  Tuesday, I was down there as well….and those rocks were all under water!


The piece of gear I tried this week was again from Ultraspire.  fitted waist belts are all the rage right now it seems like.  I dont have much to say about this one.  I doubt I will ever use it again.  I tried to carry a soft flask in it and my cell phone.  It bounced so much I contemplated just carrying it in my hand.  I dont think I can recovery from this first run to try it again….


This week looks to be another 55 to 65 mile week with some specific hill work and of course I get to run on the Lake Sonoma 50 course (25 miles of it)  Jason Benford is joining me for the run on Saturday..I hope the weather isnt too gnarly for us…drowned rat training is over rated

My Altra Lone Peak 3.5s are treating me well.  Ok, well that is it, I am out the door for a run and then into the shop to sand some joints on bike frames (

I will take some pics of Jason this weekend and hopefully write something worth reading.  thanks

A week of rest

One week post Way Too Cool. A restful week, pretty easy running. I logged about 34 miles with a total of 3200ft and all really easy.   I tried to get sick after WTC, I actually did get sick, but rested the shit out of it and beat it.  Ironically my knee started to give me the classic pain on todays run that I always get in March…so I am paying close attention to that.   If the body cooperates, it is time to turn the attention to Lake Sonoma 50 miler.  This will be my first so lots of unknown for me.  Really, I am going to do the training and try to execute a good race day.   I have been doing a lot of research on the course and race reports, gathering information.  I plan on heading down to the race are on 3/24 for an organized run of about 25 miles on the course so that should be good.  Other than that, not much to report.  I am testing the idea of racing with a race vest for LS50.  So I will be doing all my training in one (or a couple of them) but right now I think it will be the Ultraspire Momentum

so far so good

I have about 25 miles in the vest with 2 full bottles, cell phone and a jacket. No complaints yet, which I cant believe.  I seem to very particular about my hydration vests. We will see how it goes.

wish me luck in the coming weeks as the training picks back up!

Plus 2 year in posts, and its Way Too Cool 50 km again…..strangely similar races

Hey there everyone(that means you Jason Benford) its been awhile since I posted to this blog.  Strangely its exactly 2 years since my last post and pretty much the same race report.  Honestly I could copy and paste the report from 2 years ago and it would read almost the same, except 4 min faster.  Wet sloppy course, stacked field and a ripping free flying opening 17 miles…….and then I started going backwards.  I have spent plenty of time being disappointed and trying to figure out what I should have done differently, but I have found no answers in that.  The general consensus from my running hombres is that I need to slow down a bit.  SLOW DOWN A BIT?  WTF?  this is the opposite of what I want to do!  This is what I cant wrap my little brain around.  I was happily running the pace I ran in the opening 17 miles…with ease…smile on my face…fueling on point..enjoying the conditions and just generally really happy.  Then as if  slow Chris tagged in for the closing 13 miles.  Not even pushing….just going slow.


Happy Chris, running fast to the highway

My Thoughts went dark right away and no matter how much I tried to fight my inner monologue, I couldnt turn it around.  I doubted my training (sorry Brett, I didnt mean it), I complained about the weather, just turned into a little bitch.  I hate that!  These moments are the ones where you are supposed to rise up and fight….I feel like I didnt even try, I just expected it to come easy.  EASY?  how in the hell is this easy?  IDIOT!

So I crossed the line, the finish line people came over and gave  me a prize for 2nd in my age group and told me good job.  I walked back to my van, changed, drank some tea and contemplated leaving.  Sort of  feeling sorry for myslef….still disappointed, I decided to go walk around the expo area and go watch some finishers.  That was a good idea. 1.  I got to talk to Mr. D for a good 30 min.  He cheered me right up and told me if I dropped from LS50 he would break my legs.  2. I got to watch some people finish their Way Too Cool journeys.  Quickly I found myself cheering people on inspired by their faces!  YEAH SPORTS! You always get me fired up.  Happy, I drove home to the wife and pups and shared my journey with them

Lets Roll back a bit, to Like September.  I decided I was going to run more this year and have it be healthy and not crippling.  I had to come up with a training plan to balance my busy schedule with work and travel…for that means accountability.  I needed to hire a coach.  A coach needs a coach?  YES I DO!  I did a ton of research and finally called the crew at .  their virtual vibe drew me in like Odysseus to the Sirens, well done guys.  After first contact I was connected with Brett Horning, a young gun runner living in Ashland, Or.  He seemed to be unphased by my schedule and my goals, so I figured he knew what he was doing or he really needed the money…either way, like Odysseus I signed up.  I feel like Brett and I clicked fast and I really wanted to complete the workouts, no matter the travel, work, weather or conditions…….I found myself running in cities all over the nation, early mornings, late night head lamp runs, running long runs back to host housing from races. I just got it done.  Tobin ( totally had my back and sometimes helped me get “out the door” while we were on the road to complete my workouts.  I tend to immerse myself in the work and never do anything for myself.  Turns out, I can do both.  Thanks Tubbs.

So Brett and I nail 8 weeks of great consistent training and I am starting to get anxious about testing myself…Enter the Foresthill Divide 30km. I asked Brett if this fit in the schedule and he gave the nod and programmed in a tapper.  I had a blast in this race.  I ran hard but smart and ended up 4th over all 7:38 min/per mile.  I was really happy with this and really looking to running a similar pace at Way Too Cool….as you read, we missed that mark.

So what is next?  Next is my first 50 mile trail race ever.  The Lake Sonoma 50.  I have no idea what to expect, but I am nervously looking forward to the challenge.  I find this sport easy to get swept away by.  Everyone is super cool, gals, guys, fast slow, everyone is just super cool and I dig it.  I will try to post about the next 38 days training, building towards my first 50 miler

Closing thougths:

many thanks to Altra Running for the amazing support on my feet.  this is my 3rd year running for Team Red.

Brett Horning, Trails and Tarmac, Hollie, Tobin, Wolfman, Kate, Tim, Tiana and the whole damn community for always encouraging me.

-would you ever go to bed without brushing your teeth?  NO…So why would you skip a workout…..same thing

-PAIN is french for bread

3 weeks post Way Too Cool and I raced again

Happy Monday !

So it took me awhile, but I finally came to accept that my effort at Way Too Cool was ok.  4:17:02.  I really wanted to go under 4 and I thought I was on track to do so…but it didnt work out.  (broken record)

In the weeks following I took some days off and slowly put some runs in.  Wanting to error on the side of caution, i ran no more than 30 miles the 2 weeks following WTC.  Last week I was feeling so good I decided to add a little pace and add a race in the mix.  Saturday , 3/26 I raced the Knickerbocker 35km.  starting and finishing at Overlook park in Auburn, the course had all the ravine classics.  Down to No Hands, up K2, Knickerbocker…….up down up down up down, with a big UP for the finish.

I started out calm and I was to no hands (4 miles from the start) in 26 min.  Instead of looking at my watch every time a mile ticked by, I just ran on perceived effort.  Uphill, flat and downhill.  I just governed myself.  I felt super good about my effort, I wish I had a bit more for the final climb….but now I have something to target in training.

I ended up 2nd overall 2:52:44. 1st in the 40-49 geezers.  I never saw the guy who won.  In fact I thought I was leading until about 2 miles to go when Mr. D let me know that I was in 2nd…by a lot.  Turns out Eric Strabel, super star trail runner from Anchorage (my birthplace) was smashing it.  Man I wish I would have know he was up there, would have been fun to try to run with him for a bit.  I imagine I thought he was a 1/2 participant and lost track.  Pretty sure he set a new course record 2:33:16, taking Tim Tollefsons time in 2015 by about 7 min.  fast dudes……

I rocked Altra Lone Peak 2.5’s, they treated me right. Zero drop is the ticket with foot shaped toe box…just lets your feet do what they are supposed to do!

Pretty happy with my effort.  Fueled well, paced well and had a great mindset the whole time.  Only bummer is that my right knee is pretty sore, I am guessing from all the downhills.  Hopefully Christopher Selbie, the Muscle Wizard can fix me up.

Thinking about racing the Ruck A Chuck 50km on the 10th as a prep race for Miwok, but the knee is talking to me, so we shall see




It has been awhile, I was hiding

So it has been over a year since my last post. Of course, last year I did the same thing: training a lot, signing up for a bunch of races, getting hurt and DNSing every race.  So this October when I broke my collar bone riding, it gave me plenty of time to think about what I was doing wrong, for me, to be able to run and race without destroying myself.  No coach, just my version of me and running.

Thankfully, I was able to run about 10 days after the broken clavicle.  So broken and grateful, I took things easy and slow.  I ran 3 days a week for a 3 week block.  Then 4 days a week for a 3 week block and everything was happy. After that came the ramp up in volume.  I got myself up to 60 miles per week just in time to taper for the Way Too Cool 50km. which was yesterday.  I dont think I nailed the tapper, but at least I wasnt tired going into the event.

I ran a really good first 16 miles in a quick 1 hour 44 min.  Then I just stalled.  Breathing easily and with good energy, I just could not turn my legs over on the 2nd half of the course.  Clocked a 4:17:07.  Fairly certain I can go much faster but I had a good time.  Not too beat up today and I wasnt sick to my stomach after the race. Not only that, but my bro David Leeke had a stellar day too!  The carpool and post race beers were wonderful. Pumped

Really excited to have happy feet too, Altra Olympus 2.0s are what I chose yesterday.  Tons of mud, rain and creek crossings. No prob for my Altras

Up Next is Miwok 100km…….time to train the vertical


Winter is the new Spring

This week was pretty nice for being outside, just a little worrisome with the lack of rain/snow for this time of year.  I got to spend a lot of time out side this week and I loved it.

weekly miles ran: 39.63.  Miles for the month so far 77.02

Shoes of the week: Hoka One One Mafate Speed.  They have been really good to me, I love the MAX shoes….afraid to go back…I had one issue today with a little rubbing on the outside of my right ankle, but I think I had a rock or something in there.  Pretty descent traction in the mud too. They don’t shed mud very well and get heavy fast.

Socks Injinji toe socks.  I love them.

Sorry about the order of the pics….I don’t know ho to fix that.


so this week was great.  I got to run locally and really enjoyed all the trails I linked up on foot.  So different from on a bike.  I have to re think everything.  I have also noticed that dogs hate runners more than bikes.  And dog owners could give a shit if their dog jumps at you, bites you or makes you uncomfortable.  As an owner of 4 heelers, this concerns me.  Emigrant trail at Cannibal Campgroundon a bike I can just zip away…Never thought about being dog food.  The coyote and the bear I saw today didn’t feel the need to attack me…just the domesticated house pet. I guess this will be one of the things I will have to be aware of.

Today I went up to Truckee to meet up with my bud Robb Wolf and his wonderkind, Walker.  We had a cup at wild cherries, talked about the bike industry made an exchange and parted ways.  Since it was 45deg and blue bird, I decided to go get my 12 mile run in.  So glad I did.  Emigration trail, out of the Cannibal Campground did not disappoint.  it was a little muddy here and there but great otherwise

IMG_20150124_121237There were a lot of folks out riding.  Tons of fat bikes, mountain bikes a cross bike a few hikers a few runners….basically a bunch of folks who can’t ski right now.

My run was beautiful.  The miles just ticked over with ease…I wanted to keep running all the way to Stampede….but 22 miles would be too much and this time, I am taking it slowly. Right?

I really could have run all day, so happy.

When I got back to the truck and came to terms that is was over and rejoiced that no one broke into my truck. Then I got trapped.  Trapped in the warmth of the sun.  Trapped in the joy of being in the mountains.  I am going to have to trow a folding camp chair in my truck, I wanted to sit there all day.  Instead, I changed and drove to Coffee Bar and sat outside and enjoyed the sun.  It didn’t take long before my phone started alerting me that I needed to snap out of it and get to work.  I have athletes racing at the World Cup tomorrow (cyclocross) in Hoogerheide, Holland and next week for the World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic ( I will be there for that).  At any rate, I need to be available to them pretty much 24/7 right now.  (check out an interview I did the other day: ) again, stoked to get the 12 miles in

One more day of the weekend and I have another 12 mile run on tap. trying to figure out where I will run tomorrow. Maybe Start at White Cloud and head up. Forest service was doing prescribed burns in there today, so hopefully they are done.  If not I guess I will head up the hill again.

We leave Monday for the Czech Republic, Hopefully I get to check out some of their trail offerings.  Snow is forecast most of the time we are there, but I am going to do my best to run everyday.  anyone know any trail runners in Tabor, CZE?   Thanks for readingIMG_20150124_121400

The beginning….again

So this starts my  third attempt at running Ultra distance races.  I guess lets get the obvious out of the way right now.  Why run?  its a fair question to ask.  I have been sitting on a bike riding and racing around the world since I was 5 years old…its what I do and to some extent who I am.  I own a bike shop with my wife, I am a coach of cyclists etc….so why run?  and better yet why race?

To me, when I am running on a trail in the mountains or foothills I escape.  everything slows down and things become calm and clear.  The sounds, the smells are so awakening to me.  I love those sensations, I can’t get enough of it.

Race?  well, that is what I do.  I have done some races, up to a 50km, I have even won some races in the past…put it never lasts.  I always injure myself.

Oh the places you go running

Oh the places you go running

“I can’t get enough of it”  this is the problem.  When I run i tend to ease into it for a week or so, and then the next thing I know I am running 70+ miles a week with a smile on my face.  And then my body stops working.  My right “hip” is typically the thing that stops me from continuing.  I imagine its a case of too much too soon (duh) and the fact that I have been hunched over a bike for 35 years.

What will be different this time?  first, I have someone, a coach, an accountability officer to guide me…Karl Meltzer.  More yoga. more stretching.  more visits to my chiro.  I hope this will be a good place to start from

alright, enough talk.  Time to go run