Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where's Karl???

Just a real quick Karl Meltzer update on the Pony Express Trail.  It is now day 15 - and he has done 726 miles in 14 days...he is almost halfway there!!!  Below are a few pics from Matt Hart.

Pony Express Trail
Breakfast for champions...Bacon!!!

Karl getting ready for Day 14!

Day 14...726 miles is nothing for those Hoka's

To see some videos of Karl and the Pony Express Trail "click" on the web link below

Day 15

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest Moon

Today marks the Autumn equinox...and the harvest moon is one of the signals of the beginning of Fall.  It is the point where there is exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours or darkness at the equator. 

For me it marks the closure of a great summer season and the coming of winter.  Getting outdoors, in the next several weeks, is essential if you live in Michigan...the forests ablaze in fall color!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moving Day

Just got word that the squirrel family on our balcony are moving.  Tara took this photo as the mother is in hot pursuit of getting her children to a larger home.  We thought there were only two squirrels and the mother living in the bird house.  Turns out that there were five siblings along with the mother in that tiny house!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How To Lead Your Life

Tara shared this youtube post with me.  It's Randy Pausch - "The Last Lecture reprised".  If you haven't seen, it is worth watching...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Karl Meltzer - Red Bull Human Express

Pony Express Trail
The last couple of days I have been tracking Karl Meltzer as he runs the Pony Express's approximately 2,000 miles.  Back in 2009, I contacted Karl Meltzer to help me with training - that experience lead to a 5th. place finish at the Mohican 50 miler and a finish at the 2010 Rocky Raccoon 100.  Anyways, he is a pretty cool guy to talk with and knows his stuff with regards to trail running - he has won twenty-eight 100 mile runs! 

You can track Karl's progress here

Karl is being crewed by Matt Hart.  Matt just finshed 3rd. overall at the Wasatch 100.  You can follow Matt on his blog.

Here are some photos of the Human Express taken by Matt Hart.

Karl and his RV
the cool RV
Karl likes bacon
reviewing the maps
icing down after covering 50 miles on the first day

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anton Krupicka

running can be pretty simple....

Squirrel House

Tara and I have a family of squirrels living in our birdhouse!  They are pretty funny to watch...mostly baby squirrels that stick their heads out...and then of course, the mommy squirrel that leaves to get the groceries! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The Hills at Bennett Arboretum
Met up with Steve Rose last night at Bennett Arboretum to run a bit...well actually, we ran just under 2 hours.  Our conversation seemed to have been centered on the lessons learned from the Leadville 100 - It's funny, how a race can be much more than just a run!
The Arboretum is one of my favorite places to run - I usually come out here to reflect on Life.  Running allows me to do this...and the hills and the vistas at the arboretum create a perfect platform for this meditation. 

On last night's run with Steve, however, it seemed as though I was starting over...rebuilding and starting new with a fresh attitude on the lessons that summer has taught me!   

Friday, September 10, 2010

2010 Life Group Chili Cookoff

Tara and I had to wait one whole year before we could re-enter the Life Group Chili Cookoff.  Somehow we found a way to burn our chili entry last year and the judges gave it the name "Chipolte Chili".  This year was going to be different!  We did our research...we bought a new chili pot...we purchased the finest ingredients...and we took our time cooking the chili.  This year we named our chili "As Good As It Gets"!  ...and guess what...we WON - Best in Show!!! 
Best in Show Trophy!!!  We plan on placing it on our mantel...well, if we had one of course!
Tara and I receiving the "Best In Show" Trophy! 
Past champions for the last two years, Brian & Sue, receiving the "Beef and Bean" Trophy!
Shay & Jeremy receiving the "Finding Nemo" Trophy!
Amy receiving the "Dear Diary" Trophy!
Sarah & Jim receiving the "Sensationally Sweet" Trophy!
Meet the judges Rick & Laura.  They had a very difficult time deciding how to award this year's trophies with so many delicious chili recipes!
 So you ask what does it take to win a chili cookoff???

"As Good As It Gets" - Best in Show

Well actually this is what it takes:

2lbs. ground beef
1 chopped onion
add into frying pan and brown

1 can beef broth
3 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cans chili beans
add ground beef and onion

cook for 30 minutes

3 tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tbs. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
3 cubes Chicken Granules
3 tbs. Brown Sugar

cook for 1 hour

2 tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tbs. Ground Cumin
3 tbs. brown sugar

simmer for 30 minutes 

garnish with Fritos, Cheddar Cheese, Chop Onions, & Sour Cream!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well we hung the butterfly mobile and mounted the vinly letters above the artwork!  Now all we need is a crib and a changing table...oh yeah, and a little baby girl would be nice!
Inching Closer!

Tara designed this butterfly mobile!
Vinly letters and paint!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


photo taken of the course the day after the race

"On a good day, running 100 miles is f*@%ing hard. Period. On a bad day, it's borderline impossible." -Tony Krupicka
This race report has been challenging to write because I have never DNF'd in a race.  I am writing it with hopes of capturing my experience while it is still fresh, so that I can later reflect on it...and gain valuable insight into the training and recovery processes that are required to run 100 miles.  I am releatively new at running the 100 mile distance - the Leadville 100 would be my second attempt.

Shortly after I finished my first 100 mile trail run, Rocky Raccoon 100 in February of this year, I was wanting more...I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to experience that rush again!  Tara and I had just found out that we were going to have a baby in early October, so the timing of running another 100 miler in 2010 seemed doable.  I had a talk with my friend Steve Rose about doing another 100 miler and the Leadville 100 trail run in August would allow us to train all summer long.  Before I knew it Steve and I found ourselves registered with  two other guys, Ken Arble & Andrew Harding,  from a local running group that we were a part of - "R.U.T." 

The thing with Leadville, is that you have to deal with the altitude - the town rests at 10,200 feet!  My approach going into the Race Across the Sky was to run a boat load of trail miles...this I thought would lead to a Leadville 100 finish.  So in May I ran 315 miles, in June I ran 304 miles and in July I ran 341 miles.  Looking back at my training now, I can see that I peaked in early July and never really rested...just kept on running on tired legs.  The taper was difficult for me.  I was experiencing quite a bit of soreness and fatigue...and at the same time I really wanted to keep on running, so as not to loose any fitness.  This is a really a crazy sensation that most ultra-runners experience.  Also, during my taper I began to experience a sharp pain at the tip of my big toe due to a problematic toenail that had become infected.   

Two weeks prior to Leadville I had decided to make a shoe change.  I was informed that a road shoe may not be suitable for the Rocky Mountain terrain. After trying on every trail shoe known to man, Steve offered up a pair of Mountain Masochists that he had laying around in the back seat of his car.  Oddly enough they worked fine on a 9 mile trail run, so I had decided that these were going to be the shoes!

We're off...Ken, Steve, Chris, Andrew and I arrive at Denver, Colorado on Thursday - you could feel the excitement! Chris and Ken drove separately, since they were going to make a couple of stops along the way to visit friends and family.  While Steve, Andrew and I headed directly to Leadville.  Once we arrived at the Leadville Hostel late at night and realized that most of my running gear, contained in a black carry on bag, was left behind at the Hertz car rental.  A call to the Hertz manager lead to a sleepless night - they had not found any luggage that matched my description.  The best that they could do was to have me follow up with the lost and found department in the morning.  All night long I kept going over in my mind the type of gear that was missing and how I was going to replace it.  Probably the most critical item was my orthodics.  The shoes, the garmin, the shorts, the water bottles, etc. could all be replaced.  The next day a phone call to Hertz would reveal that the black carry on bag was found!  Ken's pacer, Chris, volunteered to make the two hour drive to Denver to pick up the bag, so that I could go to the medical check-in and then rest before the race.
Keith, Ken, RD Ken, Steve, Andrew
Other than being a bit tired and having a slight headache, I thought that my body was adapting well to the altitude.  I wasn't really sure if my headache was caused from not getting enough sleep or if it was my allergies, or if it was due to the altitude.  Anyways I was told to drink plenty of water, so I continue to stay hydrated.

The night before the race we got our gear situated - I was extremely relieved to have my running gear at my bedside!  We all hit the bed early, so that we could get a good night's rest before our 2 a.m. wake-up call.  I only got about 3 hours sleep, but felt pretty relaxed and ready.  We all did our own pre-race routines and then headed down to the starting line.  Andrew, Steve, and I spotted Tony Krupicka warming up the hills.  We asked Tony if he minded getting a photo with us and he was cool with it! 
Andrew, Tony Krupicka, Keith and Steve
Start to May Queen (13.5)
The gun went off at 4 a.m. and we were on our way!  It was really exciting to be finally running the Leadville 100!  I was amazed to be running with so many runners and I can remember turning off my headlamp, because the pavement was pretty well lit up by the 750 other runners that I was running with.  The first few miles were on paved road and my legs felt fresh and strong.  Steve and I were running side by side maintaining an 11 minute pace, while we played leapfrog with Ken and Andrew all the way to the May Queen aid station.  Once we left the paved road and started running on the trail  I turned my headlamp on, so that  I could see the terrain more clearly - it was mostly roots and rocks.  In this stretch, Steve and I commented how this felt like the morning of the Rocky Raccoon 100.  Daylight broke and we could look across Turquoise Lake and see the runners beginning the climb up Sugarloaf.  We stopped to take a few pictures and to take in the was going to be a long day, so I had thoughts that I was just going to enjoy the process!   Once we arrived at the aid station I took my headlamp off, filled my hydration vest and bottle and grabbed as much melon, bananas, and pb&j's that i could carry...and away I went!
pretty much an out and back 50 miler!
May Queen to Fish Hatchery (23.5)
This was the first big climb of the day up Sugarloaf at 11,071 feet.  I power hiked most of this uphill.  I wasn't too concerned with my pace at the time, because I knew that there would be a good downhill stretch, once I reached the top.  The views from the top were amazing and the downhill section was really fun!  At this point, Ken had been running next to me and he mentioned that he would have to run this section carefully, because last year a runner had fell into him - injuring his knee causing him to DNF at Mile 50.  Ken's comment made me run this downhill section with caution and with some hesitation as I wanted to conserve my quads for later in the race.  Once I hit the pavement I continued running / walking into the Fish Hatchery aid station.  As I was entering Steve was exiting.  I quickly sat down and asked for my drop bags...i noticed that my energy level was a bit low and that I had a mild headache.  After changing out of my knit hat and long sleeve shirt I then fumbled through my drop bag and switched out a few items from my hydration pack that I thought that I would need later in the race (i.e. warm jacket, gels, dry gloves).  Just as I was wrapping things up I saw Ken asking for his drop bag...unfortunately, they couldn't find it, so I asked him if he needed any of my items and he just smiled and continued on.  I filled up with water, grabbed some melon, pb&j's and bananas and I was on my way...and then mother nature called, so I had to take care of business.  

Fish Hatchery to Half moon (31)
About a 1/2 mile from Fish Hatchery my pacer, Brain Hoffman and his coach Stacy,  pulled up next to me in their van and mentioned that they would meet me at Twin Lakes - so off they went.  It was great to have finally met Brian and Stacy - it raised my spirits and gave me something to look forward to, because originally I had planned on meeting Brian at the Fish Hatchery on my way back...and now I would be seeing them in about 16 miles.  The road out to pipeline was a bummer - it was mostly pavement and I was exposed to the sun (this was probably the least enjoyable section of the course).  Shortly after I turned onto pipeline my right heal started to ache.  It didn't matter if I was walking or running - the pain was still there.  My thought was that the pain would eventually go away, so I mixed up the running with walking.  Once I got to the Halfmoon aid station I filled up my hydration pack and water bottles and started eating...I sat down and realized that my energy level was pretty low.  I was hitting a low point in my run.     

Halfmoon to Twin Lakes (39.5)
I headed out of the Halfmoon aid station with a handful of melon, bananas, and pb&j sandwiches.  The combination of the heal pain and the low energy made going I just tried to focus on forward progress and continued to shuffle along - walking all of the uphills and running all of the downhills.  Finally I was able to get a decent rhythm together and found that it was much easier to concentrate on the beauty of the trails versus the pain that I was experiencing.  This was by far the most scenic section of trail that we had all day - there were some pretty cool creek crossings nestled in the aspens and some single track on soft pine needles.  At the top of the climb, I could see Twin Lakes below.  This gave me a boost, knowing that I could finally switch out of these shoes that had caused my heal pain and refocus.  I just let gravity do it's thing and I ran this downhill pretty aggressive.  As I was descending, I noticed that my hand was swollen and that my wedding ring was really tight.  My first thought was that this was the result of altitude.  I finally arrived into the Twin Lakes aid station about an hour and a half past my goal and was greeted by Brian and Cindy.  They really were positive and mentioned that I wasn't that far off of a 28 hour finishing pace.  I switched out my shoes, refueled, hydrated and I was on my only took me 20 minutes!  This was the story of the day - my transitions were slow and I just fumbled through my gear.  As I headed out, Brian walked with me and mentioned that he would meet me in Winfield.    

Twin Lakes to Winfield (50)
shoe high altitude
The shoe change seemed to have helped my heal...I was off and running.  Soon after leaving the Twin Lakes aid station Tony Krupicka and his pacer Dakota Jones came running towards me - I remember being pretty humbled by this, because I was at mile 40 and Tony was already at mile 60!  Anyways, I wished him well as he went running by and he nodded.  As I headed towards the climb up Hope Pass I entered into a stream crossing that was really refreshing and felt good on my sore heal...this was the last time that I remember anything about the pain in my heal.  I was now climbing up hope pass.  This was a 3,600 foot climb in 5 miles.  It took me every bit of 2 hours to reach the hopeless aid station.  On the way up, I ran into Ed Bartone.  He was a runner from Michigan that I had met in Leadville the day before.  Ed and I switched the lead several times on the way up.  Once we reached Hopeless aid station at mile 45, we both sort of realized that the next cutoff would be difficult to make.  We has less than 1 hour to make it to Winfield.  It was at this point that I started encouraging the runners on their return back to Leadville and then started to absorb the incredible scenery at the summit.  On my decent into Winfield from Hope Pass, I saw Andrew and then Ken & his pacer Chris and I wished them well on their return to Leadville.  Once I arrived at Winfield, I met my pacer Brian and I walked over to the aid station to have my wristband cut - I was 40 minutes shy of making the cutoff.
Ed Bartone climbing up Hope Pass
The following day Steve, Ken and I walked down to the finish line and watched our good friend Andrew Finish the Leadville 100...pretty amazing stuff - this was his first 100 mile run! 

Andrew - 29:04:00
Then at the 30 hour mark the race director shot off the gun, whiched marked the closing of the 2010 Leadville 100.
This is how badass the Leadville 100 is!

I do plan on returning to Leadville to finish what I started...this is a very unique run - that's more than just a run!!!


at the summit of Hope Pass 12,600 feet