Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vernonia Marathon Race Report

Alicia and I decided to look for a local(ish) marathon to run as her final long run in her Smith Rock 50K block, one that would also double as a solid run for me in my Millersylvania 50K block. I had a phenomenal time at Hagg Lake 50K, so when we saw that the Vernonia Marathon was directed by the same club that put on Hagg, we decided to go for it!
This Marathon is a point to point course starting in Vernonia, OR and ending in Banks, OR. It starts off by taking a loop around Vernonia lake and then proceeds on a bike/pedestrian path all the way to Banks, ending at the middle school. The start of the race was well organized with plenty of buses to shuttle runners, a warm building to stay out of the elements, clean bathrooms, and drinks, including hot coffee to keep us warm while we were waiting to start.
My wife and I wished each other luck, exchanged some good luck kisses, and stepped to the line. This wasn't a very big event (172 starters, I believe) so I took the lead from the start and felt confident I could maintain it, even with very little marathon-specific training. I followed the pace bike around the lake; this was my absolute favorite part of the race! Upon returning from the lollipop-type loop, I was able to cheer-on and high-five the majority of the marathon field, who all looked stoked! It brought me a ton of joy ahead of what I knew would be a good amount of suffering. I saw Alicia on my way back as well, she shouted " What's wrong?" I was confused and yelled back "I'm winning?!" I later found out she thought I was headed the wrong direction.
The pace bike left the course after mile 5, which I thought was strange for a regional championship race, but makes sense as the rest of the course is a straight shot on a bike path. This threw me off a little bit though. Once I realized I'd be alone for quite some time, it took some real work to get out of my head and stay focused on the task at hand. But the course was gorgeous! It felt quiet remote in some areas and featured what looked like old growth forest, thick moss, farm animals (the biggest pig I've ever seen) and dense foliage.

PC: Kelly Barten

There was a slight uphill (roughly 300ft of elevation gain) from mile 9 to 13, but living in Ashland, we get that much gain on the 1 mile run from downtown back to our house, so it felt like no biggie. After the halfway point, there was a gentle, and gradual, 400ft downhill section until mile 21. I was able to keep a decent pace during these miles and felt fairly good because of the light down-grade. I caught up with some of the half marathoners around mile 14 who cheered me on and offered words of encouragement. This definitely helped fire me back up when I was feeling tired. Thanks to all of you who were hootin' and hollerin'! It made a huge, positive impact on my day.
I didn't wear a GPS, but I'm aware of my pace and I'm 100% sure the mile markers were placed incorrectly in some areas. My splits were jumping around from 5:20 to 6:50 with each passing mile marker. I know myself well enough to know #1 What 5:20 pace feels like (it's unsustainable for 26.2 for me) #2 What 6:50 feels like (my "easy" road pace) and #3 How to keep a fairly steady rhythm. Some variance is expected, but most days, my pace doesn't vary by 90 sec/mi on the roads, even if I have to stop and take a piss! The course is USATF certified, so there's no doubt in my mind that the distance was spot on, but the mile markers sure as hell were not. I tried not to let this bother me too much and simply maintained an effort I felt I could sustain for about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
At mile 21 the course flattened out and it began to dump buckets of rain. Flat running sounds nice in theory, but after you've been running downhill for nearly 7 miles, flat almost feels like uphill! I maintained my effort the best I could and just kept trucking along. All of the volunteers and other runners were super supportive and encouraging as I plodded forward, which helped so much! I probably sounded crazy to some of them as I just kept saying out loud: "Focus. Focus. Focus."
I lost some time in the final two miles. My splits were somewhere around 6:40, but I didn't mind. I figured I'd get close enough to 02:35 to feel satisfied for the day. As I rounded the corner and stepped onto the middle school track for the final lap, I funneled in with some of the half marathoners, took a lap, and crossed the finish line in 02:37:03 which is a road marathon PB for me!

PC: Kelly Barten

I was pretty pumped, but no one acknowledged that I finished. I didn't care about being acknowledged as a winner, only as a finisher and participant, and that didn't happen. It's so strange that I got missed too, because they got a photo of me finishing! I probably felt more disappointed by this than I should I have, but I couldn't help not being stoked about it. I headed to the showers to warm up.
I walked back down to wait for my wife, and as I was waiting for her to come through, a man with a mustache came up and asked me if I could come get something out of his car. I was pretty shelled, you know, from just running 26.2 near my ability, but no shit, this guy had me walk up to his car and carry a flat of Gatorade back to the finish! Come to find out this was the RD. Don't get me wrong, I like to help, I had just never experienced something like that at any of the 60 races I've run. There's more to that story and the interactions that followed, but I'll keep it to myself. Bottom line: ORRC would be smart to find a new RD for this race.


Shout out to my beautiful wife! She was/is feeling fit, but her ITB flared up around mile 10. If I were there, I would have told her to drop out; to look at the bigger picture, but I wasn't there and she's tough as nails, so she gutted it out. It was a long tough day for her, but she still managed to eek out a 1 minute PR. Congrats, beautiful!





PC: Kelly Barten

I am so thankful for my life, for this body, and to have the gift of movement! I feel blessed and excited about what the future holds as well. I've focused mainly on trail and ultra running, so it took tears to get from 03:09 to 02:37 in the marathon. The daily grind is rarely exciting and I've had a ton of set backs, but I'm ready to give the next 5 to 10 years of running my all. When I'm finished, I aim to to be satisfied with my efforts.

Gear used:

Rabbit McSleeve
Patagonia Strider Pro Shorts
Swiftwick Crew Socks
Adidas Boston Boost 6
3 GU Energy Roctane Gels
Stopwatch

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Week in Training 12/11/2017 to 12/17/2017




Whoa! It's been a while! I'm pretty busy training, coaching and living life (excuses, I know) so I don't post here often. I dealt with a pretty good string of injuries after spring marathon training/excessive racing which carried on through to our move down to Ashland. I took some time off and have since been able to build back up a bit (with help from my Coach) but am still addressing a little Achilles soreness and a lingering Sciatica issue.

Here's what last week looked like:

Monday - 12/11/2017 - 7 miles easy. 500 feet EG.

Tuesday - 9.25 miles easy, 1,800 feet EG. Oredson Todd Woods to Mike Uhtoff to Red Queen to Snark to Lithia.

Wednesday - 12.5 mile workout, 2,000+ feet EG. 3 miles easy, 4 miles @ perceived marathon effort, 4 miles @ perceived half marathon effort, 1.5 mile cool down. All on trail.

Thursday - 8 miles easy, 2,000 feet EG. Up Liberty to Luna's Revenge, 2060 to Lewis loops, White Rabbit to home.

Friday - B2B #1 - 20 miles, 3,500+ feet EG. Through town to Hitt to Fell On Knee to Hitt to 2060 To Bandersnatch to Red Queen, bee bopped around, then home.

Saturday - B2B #2 - 20 miles, 1,000 feet EG. Wife was at work and our daughter isn't quite old enough to stay alone (she's 10) so I go to the soccer field across the street, that way she can see me from the couch and if she needs me she can come over; I run in .15 mile circles. That was something like 133 loops today. I don't mind it, I just stay in the moment. Average pace: 6:17 last 4 miles: 5:53, 5:54, 5:25, 5:24.

Sunday - 5.5 recovery miles, 1,000 feet EG. Luna's revenge, 2060, Bandersnatch, Lithia.

Totals: 82.25 miles, 11,800 feet EG.

I start PT at Connected Physical Therapy at the end of the month which will hopefully help me get over this discomfort. It's manageable, but rather annoying some days. The thought of some relief has me very excited!

I took a break from Strava to stop comparing myself to others and to instead focus on what I can control: my training. I also deactivated my Facebook. It is a monumental waste of time that stifles free thinking and creativity - I often describe it as a garbage dump with nothing but electronic trash getting thrown in your face by useless, divisive algorithms.

Social media rant over! As I post a photo to Instagram ;)

I'm looking to level up to 100MPW and I'm ready to throw down at Sean O'brien 100K!

I sure am blessed to have such a beautiful family and live in such an amazing region.

I will be forever grateful.

Cutting down our Christmas Tree!

Alicia doing speedwork on Snark

Luna's Revenge - 1mi/1,000ft from my door to FS 2060
Luna and I headed up FS 2060
The view from the top of Lewis Loops (3 mi from home)

The view from White Rabbit on my 20 miler

The .15 mile field loop

I love it so much!




Saturday, May 27, 2017

Soaring Eagle Marathon Race Report

I had never run an Evergreen Trail Runs race before, but wifey had run Dash Point and I was feeling frisky, so I signed us up for the race. She opted for the 10K and I decided on the Marathon. It only took us 1:30 to drive up there from our place, which was awesome, and we were unaware of this forested oasis right outside of the city!
The Soaring Eagle Marathon consists of four 6.5 mile loops in Soaring Eagle Regional Park with a total elevation gain of 2,700 feet. There aren't any major or "memorable" climbs to be aware of, just consistently rolling PNW single track. The race starts of with almost a mile on a flat gravel path where you can really get going at a good clip before taking a left and dropping into the forest.
Most of the run is on beautiful rolling singletrack through a leafy green wonderland. It's smooth and fast, but hard to get a rhythm as the trail constantly darts to the left and right with no consistent straight stretch to be found after the start. The trails meanders through the forest, under moss covered evergreens and over root strewn singletrack. The end, before the descent to the start/finish area, had us running through patches of lightly aromatic wildflowers. The smells coupled with the warm breeze certainly took away the pain I started to feel in my quads on my final loop!
The majority of the loop is shaded, which was wonderful today as the temperatures kept climbing. Even shaded, all of us PNW runners were pretty warm. I drank 30 oz of water per 6.5 mile loop, which is a lot for me! Luckily there were two aids stations. One at the start and one about 4 miles in, both of which were thoroughly stocked and manned by uber friendly volunteers. Thank you all!
This was a great intro back onto the trails for me as I had been spending the majority of my time trying to get fit enough to run a decent road marathon. My legs were ill prepared for the modest elevation gain and loss though. That, coupled with the fatigue from last Sunday, had me in the pain cave for the last 6 miles, but I just loved it! I felt like I was in my element. I felt happy.
I managed to run 3:34 which was good enough for a new course record. I don't really care much about all that right now, but I would be lying if I didn't say it felt nice to run a consistent race after last weekends epic and seemingly annual blow up.
I inhaled a total of 3 bugs and got stung by some nettles during a bathroom break, but I'll still call it a good day :) Alicia ran the 10K in 01:17 and also had an absolute blast. We then destroyed some MOD pizza. The perfect way to start a 3 day weekend!


Gear Used:

5 X Strawberry and Citrus ClifShots
Patagonia Pro Strider Shorts
Patagonia LoPro Trucker
New Balance Trail Prototype






Monday, February 20, 2017

50 Miles For A Friend: A Recap

How many of you have lost a loved one? How many of you have felt the world go black?

Well, we dodged a bullet when Britt opened her eyes after this accident and the world is a brighter place because of it. I decided to do this fundraiser not just because Britt is a very good friend of mine, one of my best friends, but because she is an amazing human being. She's always been positive and adventurous and when I saw her in the hospital after she had just had her feeding tube removed, her mindset was no different than it's always been. Even so, it changed something inside of me. Every time I think about her I feel something well up. While I knew that running 50 miles around a track wasn't going to make a big difference in her recovery, it's the only thing I could think to do. And as my friend Andrew put it: if you're good at something, use it to help others.

So at 9:01AM  on Sunday 02/19 I started running. I ran 201 laps around the Yelm High School track over 7 hours and 11 minutes. It rained. The wind blew. The sun broke. And the clouds came back. I kept running. People came and went, but you know what was amazing? People who didn't even know her came and shared laps with me. People who I haven't seen in years pledged $1 a lap to her GoFundMe account. My mother in law set up an entire aid station like I had never seen before and my wife, Keith and Andrew stayed ALL DAY long to support me.

During a lap with Alicia I turned to her and said "Can you believe all of the people that came out? Or some of the people that are donating? People that don't even know her!"

"Genuine people, Korey. That's what it is. You have genuine friends that care about you, and if you care this much about something, they know it's important."

She's right.

Thank you all. To all of you who took time out of your day to come and support Britt at the track. To all of you who donated to help her recovery when I know you don't have a ton of extra cash: thank you. It's the most touching thing I've witnessed and I certainly have a different outlook on humanity after this experience.

But one thing that Britt said at the hospital about settling still sticks in my head:

"Not to travel? Not to do what you want? To live in a bubble? That doesn't make any sense."

And she's fucking right. It doesn't make any sense not to live the life you want to live.

You could get hit by a car and die tomorrow.

What would you say to the people you love if this was the last day you were going see them? Where would you go if you only had a week left? Where would you want live and what view would you want to wake up to if you only had a year left here? Don't wait until it's too late. Do not waste what you have. Show the people you love that you love them and live the life you want to live.







Photo by David Detrick




photo by David Detrick




Monday, January 9, 2017

50 Miles To Help Britt Heal

So maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't, but my friend Britt was struck by a car when she was crossing the street in West Seattle. Her pelvis was shattered and had to be rebuilt, her legs were broken, she fractured her neck and skull and had serious brain trauma. I'm probably missing something in this list of injuries, but that's not the point of this.
In the 27 years I've know this beautiful human being, she's never once asked me for anything besides a hug, yet she would be there if I called no matter what time it was or what I needed or what she was doing. She's seen me through most of my darkest days and picked up the phone anytime I called with a broken heart. She's a light to everyone she touches. She loves adventure and change and animals.  She's selfless and humble. She cares for all living things and as far as I'm concerned doesn't have a bad bone in her body. She's one of my best friends and one of the best humans I've ever met.

I visited Britt today.

Speaking quietly under the screams of the patient on the other side of the thin cloth that separated us.

"I've been here for a month. Look at my hair. It was long, and curly, and pretty. And no one brushed it. Now I'm going to have to shave it."

"You're beautiful Britt. You'll get one of those hip haircuts and you'll be stylish and cool. You know? Short in the back with long bangs? It will be real pretty. Don't worry."

"I just can't make sense of any of it. You know that I slept through Christmas? I woke up and didn't know it had past. That's one of my favorite days of the year."

"I know. It's just another day. You'll have 65 more Christmas'. At least. What will you do after this?"

"I'm not sure. Life is fragile. It doesn't make sense not to do what you want. Not to adventure? To live in a bubble? That doesn't make sense."

When I left I told her how beautiful she was.
I got in my car and I cried.
I am so thankful she's alive.

I regret making excuses not to come up when she asked if I could visit.

She will recover, but the road is long. Very long. And expensive. So on 02/19/2017 at 9:00 AM I will be running 50 Miles around the Yelm High School track to raise money for her Go Fund Me account. If you have an hour or 10 minutes, come out to the YHS track. Run a lap or a mile or 5 miles or even walk for 15 minutes. Post on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook about why you're here and share this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-britt

Britt would never ask for help. Ever. But I will.

Share this.

We are only $15,000 away from the $50,000 goal, but if you've ever known anyone who spent anytime in the hospital, you know how fast that will go.

If you can't come out to the track PLEASE share her Go Fund Me link.

Do a run for her wherever you are. Wherever you live. Run a mile for Britt and post about it.

Help us spread the word and HELP BRITT HEAL.

She deserves every penny.








Sunday, October 9, 2016

Defiance 50K Race Report 2016

I hadn't heard of Defiance 50K until the night prior, but I was signed up for Oregon Coast 50K and decided that due to my poor planning, it was unrealistic for me to get up at 2a.m. to drive 11 hours round trip to run that race. So I got online and found Defiance, which had plenty of space left as well as day-of registration.
This 50K is held on the trails at Point Defiance starting at Owens Beach. It's a loop course of roughly 10 miles with about 1,000 feet of gain per loop and it's all runnable. Even my favorite descent, Nelly's Gnarly Descent, is runnable; it has a rope from top to bottom, so you just hang on tight and bomb down (I recommend bringing gloves for this). The trails are gorgeous and I sure do love a course where you can get a steady rhythm and good turnover, it makes for a fast day.

PC: Marylee Martucci

The first mile or so of the course is on a concrete path along the waterfront before you climb a set of stairs up into the park. From there, besides a few road crossings, you are on soft, groomed North West trails under beautiful old growth and typical PNW flora. It's an easy and scenic course, two things you don't often get in one trail race. There is only one steep climb, Achilles Hill, and it's very short.
Despite running an average of only 50 miles per week for the past two months following my back to back 50 Milers, I was feeling pretty good. I came through the first loop in 1:15 and the second in 1:17, but during the third loop I lost a lot of time. When I started the third loop I was on pace for a short course PR, I even sent my wife a photo and message that said "I have the lead and I'm on pace for my PR!" but I spoke too soon.
Mid race selfies are a bad idea
PC: On The Run Events

Getting tired had a lot more to do with my slower time on the 3rd loop than anything else, but I will say that this was one of the poorest marked courses I have ever run. There was no mention of what color ribbon to follow pre-race, which thankfully ended up being pretty self explanatory since there was only one color out there, however, during the first loop myself and two 30K guys (one who was really pissed about it) got off course a total of 3 times. On my last loop, after coming to an intersection with pink ribbons in multiple directions, I took a wrong turn and added 1-2 miles to my run. The volunteers were very friendly, but they didn't seem to know what was going on as every one I asked either had no idea what distance they were stationed at or told me a distance that made no sense and contradicted the previous volunteer's estimation. Maybe I'm Spoiled by Rainshadow Running and Destination Trail, but the lack of course marking and volunteer organization became very apparent on my last loop.
Even with those little bumps, I stayed positive and had a blast. Can I really complain about getting some bonus miles?Besides, it was a fast and beautiful course and I managed to snag the win. Nelly's Gnarly Descent was by far my favorite part. It was thrilling to hold on to that rope and pretty much free fall down that steep section of trail. So much fun!
The aid stations were well stocked and at the finish there was endless pizza. Can you really ask for more than beautiful Pacific North West trails and endless pizza?



We went back the following day for Wifey's Long run. Here are some photos of the beautiful trails out there:







Thank you to all of the volunteers who make these events possible.

Thank you to Clifbar.

For personal coaching visit Upper Left Distance Training.