Monthly Archives: November 2008

‘Tis the season to be running…

I’ve managed to get a few good rides in this past couple of weeks, as our beautiful November continues, including a ride into town in the midst of our first real taste of winter yesterday, but the writing is in the snow, so to speak, and tomorrow’s ride with Jeni, Eddie W and Michelle H (a new AW helper, and ex XTERRA athlete) could be it for the trails.

With that, our thoughts (and our legs!) turn to running, and it seems to be the “flavor of the week” for many FARTS… What a week as far as FART mileage!

Kelley has been running 6 miles per day–every day–for almost a month now, and is really committed to it. Well done, Durbo!

Andy is working toward his first 50k distance, and is up to over 15 miles in training.

Jeni just emailed, and did a great 8 miles today in her workout, too!

Keith M (who Dave got started back into fitness!, I’m happy to say!) is up to over 14 miles himself (!), and is looking like he’ll be up for a race in the spring, too!

Peggy just completed an amazing 100 mile race in Arizona a couple of weeks, ago!! Way to go, Peggy! I have attached the url for the story of her race, so check out the account of what it feels like to run 100 in one day! Now THIS is a real run, for all of us “pretenders…”

Continuing the trend, Sheena is running a marathon in California with her Dad next weekend! Way to go, girls! I’m so impressed!

Trying to help keep the male end up, Dave is trying to keep up with Andy, and Peggy emailed to tell me that she knows I’ve got a “50 miler in me.” I’m not sure about that, but after talking with Thomas this week, and hearing all of the great stuff everyone is doing, I’m working on getting into some sort of shape, just in case a sudden marathon/50k/Primal Quest comes up, and someone needs a runner…

I’ve been roughly paralleling Andy’s training as he works toward his 50K, and though I did a pretty quick Loop last Saturday, I’ve been doing more long slow “base” training, including a 1/2 marathon a week or so ago.

I set out today to match Andy and do a 25k… 15.5 miles, and it was another perfect day: overcast, no wind, no precip, mid 30s. So, with new tunes on the Ipod, two water bottles and a GU pack, off I went, hoping to average 9:30/mile, which seems to be an okay “run-long-way” pace.

The difficulty was that the route I chose was pretty robust, especially on the way back home, as I hit the half way mark right around Bayview.

I was feeling pretty good–really good, actually–at the 8.5 mile mark, and decided to add a little extra bit to the run by going through Farragut before heading home.

At the 13 mile mark, I was still feeling okay, though the right hip flexor started twinging, and the hardest part of the run was still to come. I ran through it, and it faded a bit, and I was thankful that the ankles were holding up well. So far, so good.

So far, I was able to maintain my goal pace as I started on the “uphill” leg toward home, and then, I had a revelation about 3 miles later… there’s a BIG difference between 13.1 miles, and 18 miles. There’s even a big difference between 16 miles and 18 miles, especially when the last two miles are uphill.

Going up the biggest hill, with two miles to go, the quads began to lose their “smooth, effortless rythym” (few would call my “original” running style “smooth and effortless,” but I can dream of being Kenyan, can’t I?). Yup. The few seconds I had gained on my pace evaporated, and, for the first time, I was huffing and puffing. Until then, I had managed to keep my heart rate under 132, even up the the other hills, but it was up to 150 all of a sudden.

Finishing the last big hill, I still had 1.35 miles to go, and for sure the legs were feeling it. I was able to finish okay, but was glad when the 18 mile “finish line” arrived.

This was the farthest I’d run in one go in a fair while, and though I was feeling it, I was able to maintain the 9:30 pace, finishing in just over 2:50.

Last week I was confidant that after my half, I could have completed an entire 26.2, but let me tell you that the legs have a mind of their own, and they’ll let you know it–suddenly–at somewhere between 16 and 20 miles. At that point, it doesn’t mean a hill of beans how easy the first 13, 15, 16 or even 18 was… the second “half” of the race starts there, and will take all you’ve got from there to the finish.

It’s a funny thing, as I’m playing with pace and distance: I can easily run faster, as I did the 13.2 last week in under 9:00. I could probably manage 8:30, but I’m unsure for how long. If I was going to run 50 miles or more, I’d probably run slower (somewhere around 12:00 min/mile, maybe) My last marathon was in exactly 8:00, and my fastest was 6:40, but I was WAY younger for both. (I don’t FEEL like I’m going slower… the effort feels the same, but I just don’t go as far in the same amount of time!)

The one good thing is that I’m only moderately sore, though I presume things will tighten up a bit later. I hope it wears off quick, as we have a big ride planned for tomorrow morning!

Now, just a note to keep things in perspective:

~ Dean Karnazes– “Karno” –the Ultramarathon man, has run over 300 miles in a single go, and has completed 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 different states… (he’s currently running the ‘Last Desert’ race in Antarctica, and is planning on coming to Adventure Week for the Deepwater 50 miler!)

~ Hailie Gerbresellasie holds the World Record of 2:03.59, which equals a pace of 4:43.8/mile!! (He’s currently NOT planning on AW, though I might email him and see if he wants to visit North Idaho)

The feats of the supermen aside, I am so proud of all of us for the great work and the great mileage! Congrats to Peggy, and good luck to Sheena! Keep it up, everyone… I can’t wait for our next group “training run” during the Christmas-New Year’s week!

I wish you all good training, and keep running!



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Thomas is a real inspiration!

This week, I got another opportunity to chat with Thomas Bastis, and once again, I hung up inspired.

Thomas was the first “legend” of AR we got to see in person. He is uber-experienced, having competed in many of the nation’s biggest events, including the unbelievably hot Primal Quest Utah, where temps soared to over 110 degrees! Thomas has been a huge help–a real mentor–to me, and has always been so generous with his time and advice. Perhaps best of all, he is truly humble about his accomplishments and his amazing abilities, and is so engaging because of it.

We were chatting about Adventure Week 2009, and he had some great suggestions, as usual. I am trying to figure how we can get him here to assist with the event, possibly by teaching the clinic for the Adventure Kids Challenge, as well as race in several different events.

Thomas and his team are scheduled to compete in PQ Badlands, and he was kind enough to share some of their strategy for preparing and building up to the 10 day “sufferfest,” and I finished the call for the first time actually leaning toward maybe someday doing PQ for real… probably not, but hey, if a team needs a man, I’m going to work to be as ready as I can!

Thanks again, Thomas! You are a real gentleman, not to mention an amazing athlete!

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Rick’s FART photos

I’ve better organized my (growing) collection of photos, posting them on flickr.


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“It will take courage to break the record…” – Sebastian Coe

Sebastian Coe was one of my idols growing up as a runner. I always wanted to be a great middle distance runner, and except for the small lack of size, aerobic capacity, talent, opportunity and basic natural ability, I was right there…

Sebastian Coe was the great white middle distance runner, Olympic champion, world record holder, and now head of the London Olympic Committee, and his quote came from an interview where he was asked about the possibility of running the mile under 3:30. His point was that the runner would have to be brave enough to go out very fast, knowing it was going to hurt.

Today was a wierd sort of day. The week was actually pretty good training wise, as I got in a personal record bike ride, had a good run and ride at the park (even though I had to ride home against the typhoon), but I’ve been feeling like I was fighting off the stomach flu the past couple of days, and to be honest, I was trying to come out with any excuse I could to not exercise today. I did my email, cleaned the house, chopped wood, but finally, I couldn’t escape it any longer. I dragged myself to get dressed, whining in my head the whole way, but finally ended up in the driveway, waiting for the Garmin to call home, trying to prove to the dog that I didn’t have any puppy treats.

I have to say, it was almost a perfect day for running though… high 30s, semi-sunny, a bit windy maybe, but nothing big.

This whole last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to relax and work more on the Aerobic base (except for the hard ride up the mountain), and basically have been just going how I feel; start easy, and just relax.

So, I started out on the Loop, pretty relaxed, and surprisingly felt not too bad. No biggie, just okay. My mind was wandering all over, sifting through all the things on my plate, and just about the two mile mark, I took my first look at my watch, and realized I was doing better than I could remember at that point. My first mile (granted, it is mainly downhill) was in 6:34, which, considering I need a mile or so to warm-up and get the creaks out was surprisingly fast for an old man.

I did a systems check, and still felt good. Breathing was well under control, legs felt fine. I actually felt more like 8:30/mile than 7:30.

I reached the 3 mile mark–1/2 way around–with the 1.25 miles of big hill staring at me, and I was 7 seconds under my best time. Here is where the mental anguish started; On one hand, I was feeling relaxed, I was having fun, there was no strain. On the other, how many days do you get where you just feel good, and have a chance to break a record, even if it’s just your own personal record?

For those of you who have run it with us, you know the hills I’m talking about… it’s a long, steep, stiff hill, and when you get to the top, you turn the corner, and have another 1/4 mile of hill before the rolling road toward home. There’s no easy way to make it up the hill… you just put your head down and survive it, and if you try to run it hard, it hurts. I had to decide: relax and run it in, or go for it and suffer. To be honest, as I thought about it, I hadn’t really pushed as hard as I could for a while, and it was actually a bit scary–you remember the pain, and you don’t want to fail if you do go for it, so suddenly, the relaxing Saturday run was amped up.

At the 3.3 mile mark, right at the base of the hill, I still felt good, so I made the concious choice that I was going to go for it, and that’s where the courage comes in that Coe was talking about. I had 2.7 miles to go, 1/2 of it up hill. The last mile and a half would be in to the wind, and I knew that from half way up the hill until the end, it would be a painful process indeed.

I hit the hill and, using the Garmin, I tried to keep my pace steady at just under 8:00/mile, which may seem slow, but, as I said, it’s a big hill!

At the 4 mile mark, I was still on track, about 10 seconds under my record split, but the hardest part of the hill was still to come. I reached the corner, turned into the wind, and really blasted up the last hill. With a mile to go, I had a chance, wind or no. I had to run the last mile in 7:07 into the wind to break my best time, so head down, knees up, I turned for home.

I conciously didn’t look at the watch again until I hit the finish line, but when i did, I saw I had ran the last mile in 6:43, and had broke my record by 24 seconds.

This week I broke two personal records, and I honestly have no real explanation for why. I hadn’t been training particularly hard–the opposite, really. I wasn’t feeling great, there was no “Andy-factor…” I don’t have an answer.

I could say the watch tells the story, but it really just tells the time; it doesn’t tell how your legs feel or what goes through your head on the last leg of the hill. It doesn’t tell you about that spot you have to find inside to go farther, or go faster than you have before.

Very few of us are Sebastian Coes, or Dean Karnazes, or most any Kenyan, but everyone who bikes, runs, paddles, walks or wheels has their own mountains to climb, their own records to beat, their own goals to aspire to. You don’t have to be an Olympian to strive for your own personal greatness, even if you are a not-particularly-talented, middle aged guy.

Coe said it takes courage, and I agree. I also think that courage is like your other muscles: it gets stronger the more you use it. By setting your goals, and from time to time, giving your all to reach them, you develop deeper resources and access hidden reserves that you maybe didn’t know you had. You find you can go a little harder for just a little futher than you have before.

Is there a limit? Probably, especially since I’ve never been this old before, but when I reach it, every once in a while, I think I’ll really work hard to try to beat it, even if it’s only by a second. Yes, it takes courage to break records, even if those records are 6:30 a mile, instead of 3:30 a mile. I may not have the ability to be great, but I sure hope I can find the courage to try.

Have a great week, everyone, and if you haven’t, check out



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Adventure Week is a go!

The weeks of planning, hard work, meetings, emails and phone calls have paid off, and we’ve got ourselves a race!

Adventure Week 2009, June 5 – 14, 2009 at Farragut State Park in North Idaho will have 16 races, clinics, and even a couple of parties thrown in for fun!

We’ll be hosting FOUR adventure races; the Crux and the Crucible, two 8 – 12 hour races over some of the best territory you’ll ever find! The races can be done singly, or as a two day stage race (The combined series will be eleigible for “Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Series” points!). There will also be two accompanying sprint races of 2.5 – 4 hours each.

Not enough? How about an official XTERRA off-road triathlon! We’ll also have the “Gauntlet” short course tri.

Trail runs? The Beaches to Boulders Trail trek will include a 6k and a 12k run, and the “Deepwater” ultras will up the ante, with a trail marathon, a 50k and even a 50 mile trail run, that will be a qualifier for the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run!

The “Mad Dash” Mountain bike races will be 4 and 8 hour lap races around Farragut’s beautiful trails.

How about the “Adventure Kid’s Challenge?” This is a new event designed for kids only, and will include insrtuctional clinics as well as a race.

The “It’s only a Flesh Wound” orienteering meet will have four races, including a short, medium, long (classic) course, and even a 4 hour rogaine.

In all, it’s going to be a GREAT, busy week, and we’re looking forward to seeing all of you, and hopefully having you around to help out a bit! It’s going to be pretty hectic!

The website is ! Please pass it on!!! Let’s make this the best outdoor event we can!

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A brand new FARTLETTE!

Today is November 18, and what we’ve suspected for a few weeks was confirmed today…

As of next Jube, we’re going to have a new Fartlette! Yes, Lisa and Dave are going to be “Adventure Parents!”

Baby is doing well, though at this point, she/he looks like a plum-sized alien, with all 4 limbs, a heart beating at 171, and a massive sized brain in a bit of an alien-like countenance… yes, we’ve got pictures.

Mommy is doing well, and is considering natural childbirth… that’s where the mom goes drug free, but the dad can have all he wants.

Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes, and we’ll keep you informed as FARTBaby gets closer to making an appearance!



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A couple of great workouts!

It’s been an up and down couple of weeks as far as workouts, with some great treks, and a couple of “slacker” days when I let stuff get in the way of working out the way I want.

Two weeks ago, Lisa and I started some exploring for the “Crux” Adventure Race route for Adventure Week 2009, coming up next June 5 – 14 by driving up to cape Horn Peak north of Bayview and going for a bit of a hike. The next day, I rode my bike up the 6.5 miles from Bayview to the top, and along the 3 Sister’s peak trail. It was an amazing ride, especially since when I got to about 3500 feet, it started snowing. It was one of the most peaceful, still rides I have ever donw, and from the time I was 1/2 way up the hill until I made it back down (as a complete mud-ball!) I didn’t see a car, building, person. It was awesome!

The next day, I went out for my first night-time “snow” run, and it was really kind of hauntingly beautiful! Your world kind of condenses down to the small circle of light from your headlamp, and before you know it, you’ve gone miles in your own little world. I loved it.

I have started back on my “aerobic base” phase, and have been putting in some mileage in hopes of trying to keep up with Andy and with the little bird in the back of my mind that is saying “…Marathon…”  “1/2 Ironman…”   “Primal Quest…”

I was able to get in a 1/2 marathon training run that felt pretty good, and then Todd came up for the weekend to do some course scouting for AW.

It was a great weekend! TJ, Jeni and I did a fair portion of the “Crucible” course, and Todd led us down the Bernard singletrack, showing us how a “real” mountain biker does it!

The next day, we scouted the planned XTERRA course, and it’s going to be terrific: fast, smooth, and just technical enough to be a real challenge.

This past weekend, Andy came to visit, and Jeni joined us for a little trek up the hill… I’m not sure Andy was quite prepared for how long and steep the “hill that never ends” really was, but he did awesome. We jiked Chilco, and then rode up to bernard Peak and singletracked down… 4:00 good hours of hard work, and even a little cramping, possibly due to a bit too much indulgence at the dinner party the night before…

Overall, not too bad. I’m just trying to keep up the mileage as the weather turns. Speaking of weather, we have had an AMAZING November. This week, we’ve had several days in the 50s, with essentially no precip. PERFECT training weather! Hoping it continues a few more days!

Hope everyone is doing well, and I wish you all the best!



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