Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A week in Review: Three Tempos, the Agassiz Uphill, One Long Run, One Team Dinner and an AlterG

So without further ado...a photo montage of the week:


Player one:  Paige Higgins on Lake Mary Road, two miles into a 15-mile tempo.

Paige looking good on her way to the LA Marathon.

Paige is done and Coach Greg McMillan discusses the work accomplished.


Player one:  Ireland's Martin Fagan

Player two:  Scottland's Andrew Lemoncello

Pre-tempo run round-table discussion led by Coach Greg McMillan.

Martin and Lemon head down Lake Mary Road in the early miles.

These guys are moving!

A job well done, even if they do say so themselves.

Half of Fagan's infamous tattoo collage.


Player one:  Andrew Middleton

Player two:  Trent Briney

Player three:  David Nilsson

Trent leads Middle.

The boys head down the all too familiar Lake Mary Road.

Middle leads Trent.

Done and done!

Not the best conditions for runnin' 5:20 pace.


Costumes are encouraged!

Runners line up at the start line at the Arizona Snow Bowl.

Jared Scott wins the three or four mile race that included blizzard like conditions and a huge climb/ descent below the summit of Mount Agassiz.

Sara Wagner wins the ladies race.

Some folks are just plain crazy!

You could pick your own mode of transportation.  Running shoes and microspikes, snowshoes, or skies.

Music and food awaited runners within the warm lodge at the finish.


Oh the joy!  No snow...fresh dirt for me to plant my foot!

Greg McMillan talks about the successful keys of running to a group of high schoolers from Marin Academy (California) after the morning's run.

The talk is so good, even Zoroaster stays tuned in.

The rest of the Team mingles post-run.

Greg with Liz Fagan-Gottlieb (one of Marin Academy's coaches).  For those ultrarunning geeks:  Liz has won Way Too Cool 50K and the Quad Dipsea twice.  It was great to see a familiar face amongst all the road and track athletes!

THE, what's that?

Jimmy Bean demonstrates Team USA Arizona's newest "team member":  The AlterG.

Ian Burrell (El Burro) takes the first spin on the new AlterG.

Here's all you need to know about the McMillan AlterG:


My first Team dinner:  It was hard for me to visualize how big the Team really was until everyone assembled in one spot at the same time.  Impressive!


We'd be remiss if we didn't supply you with your Moment of Zen entitled:  Gentle Dog Kisses

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Day on the Pemberton Trail

Pemberton Trail 50K's typical Sonoran Desert scenery.

Every year on or about the month of December I always get this little flier in the mail.  A small, folded piece of colored paper that never seems to get lost in snail mail space no matter what part of the country I'm currently calling home.  It's a little reminder that the Pemberton Trail 50 Kilometer Trail Race is coming up in February, I should mark my calendar and plan on being there.  Race director, Brian Wieck, never lets me forget.  I like that.  Truthfully, its hard to turn down an offer like that when its directed at you specifically.  Why, it'd be like not showing up at your best friend's birthday gathering.  Total party foul!

The author en route to his fourth Pemberton finish (Nick Coury photo).

Pemberton Trail 50K is just perfect.  For a February trail race its hard to beat.  You can count on the weather being darn close to perfect; the central Arizona desert makes it so.  The trail the course follows is fast, smooth, scenic and fun.  You can bet the food spread at the post-race awards ceremony will be plentiful and inviting.  The volunteers and race director know what they're doing; after all this was the tenth year of the event.

I guess the other unique thing about Pemberton is that the race can usually make you feel good about your early season fitness level.  The course is ripe for a personal record (PR) picking.  If you run it, you're likely to run your fastest 50K trail ultra ever.  Kinda nice, yeah?

Hal Koerner and Carly Varner enjoy post-race beverages.

Josh and Hillary Brimhall; happy to be finished.

Another bonus for me personally was the chance to see good friends both in the race and along the course.  Hal Koerner, Carly Varner and Craig Thornley came all the way from Oregon to participate and soak up the desert sun.  Local Arizona runners Ric Hatch, Jamil Coury and Nick Coury helped operate the aid stations along the course.  Josh Brimhall and Hillary Brimhall came over from the Las Vegas area to add to the excitement.

Josh Brimahll battled Hal Koerner most of the day for the win.  This was Josh's eighth Pemberton and fourth win.  I'd venture to say that it was most likely his hardest earned as well (Nick Coury photo).

Kudos to those who used Pemberton as their first ultra finish.  Hillary Brimhall did just that.

Full results for the 2010 event can be found here.

Nick Coury's photo montage can be found here.

Thanks to Brian Wieck and all of the volunteers that helped make the event a success.  Congratulations to all runners.

(l to r) Ian Torrence, Hal Koerner and Josh Brimhall post-race.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Now this is very cool!  How many ultrarunners get an interview with Flotrack?  Wait, wait...I hear crickets!

Thanks to Chris Kelsall for the opportunity!  Here is the interview in its entirety.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pace of Conrad Blog Interview

The other day Ryan Conrad asked me a few questions about my running and coaching for his blog column Fist Pump Friday.

Go to the Pace of Conrad for the full interview.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Helping Out at the Sedona Marathon

Scenic Sedona, Arizona.  A thirty minute car ride south of Flagstaff.

There's nothing as rewarding as finishing a marathon. You've sacrificed all that time and energy and remained focused on that marathon goal.  The memories last forever and the sense of accomplishment is huge.  Nothing could compare to this "high," right?  Well, I'd argue that volunteering for that same race is truly just as satisfying and amazing.

Sedona Marathon/Half Marathon Mile 6.  NATRA's aid station spread awaits.

NATRA commandeers one of the race's support vehicles.

I had the opportunity this past weekend to travel "down"to Sedona, AZ and assist with one of the aid stations on the Sedona Marathon and Half Marathon course.  I joined close to a dozen other volunteers from NATRA (Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association) at an aid station near the six mile mark of the race.  We helped each and every marathoner and half-marathoner at least twice on the out and back course.  We made sure every runner had what they needed:  water, electrolyte drink, bananas, oranges, gels and bars.  Just as important as those necessities were our inspirational pats on the back, cheers and smiles.  The interactions were fantastic.

Coming in fast for water.

Every runner and volunteer thrived off of each other forming a perfect circle of positive energy.  When it was all said and done we, the volunteers, were tired, like the runners, and had come away with just as great sense of accomplishment and completeness as well.  So the next time you're deciding on whether to run the next local marathon or not, try something a little different.  See the race from another perspective and consider spending your time as a volunteer.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Jewelry was handed out to runners who needed adornment.

Service with a tux!  Definitely the best dressed aid station on the course!

A full view of aid station heaven.

Who says aid station attendants can't have fun too?

More Photos!!!  See NATRA's Neil Weintraub's photo collection of the day here.