Virgil Crest 50-Miler (Before – Part II)


The Virgil Crest 50-Miler is less than 48 hours away! I have just a couple of short runs left and my preparation will be complete.

On race morning, I will be getting up around 3:00am and I’ll be leaving for the race around 4:00am. It will take me about an hour to get there. The race starts at 6:00am.

My gear includes:

  • Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0
  • Bia GPS Sport Watch with SOS Alert (full review next week)
  • My Shoes: Inov-8 Roclite 282 GTX
  • Hüma Energy Gels
  • Infinit Energy Drinks
  • A Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

    Back in June, at the Cayuga Trails 50, I think I went out a little too fast (especially considering it was my first 50-miler). I plan on being more conservative on Saturday. This will be my first time racing with a headlamp, and I’d prefer not to fall as many times as I did at Cayuga Trails. There are several people racing who are about the same speed as me, and I think it should make for a good time. I’m bib # 245.

    I don’t think there is much else – um, here goes nothing!! I will be back on Sunday with results and a recap.

    Have a great weekend!!

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    Virgil Crest 50-Miler (Before – Part I)


    The Virgil Crest Ultras are on Saturday and I will be participating in the 50-Miler. Today’s post is going to be a general preview, and tomorrow’s post will by my personal preview.

    As you can see by the elevation chart above, the course is quite challenging. This year, there will be about 11,000 feet of elevation gain (and double that for the 100-mile race). I think most of the hills will be runnable. With that being said, the hills at miles 14, 17, 34 and 37 might just be too much.

    The forecast has been fluctuating over the course of the week. As of right now, it looks like the temperature will be about 50 degrees at the start, and it will climb to about 70 degrees throughout the day on Saturday. It will be fairly humid and there is a chance of rain in the afternoon. Overall, I don’t really have any complaints about the forecast.

    This race will certainly be competitive. The 100-miler includes Sebastien Roulier, Denis Mikhaylov and James Blandford.

    As far as the ladies, Kat Clewley will be the one to watch – she has run 18:37 for 100 miles.

    The 100-Mile Course Records are:

    Jeff Browning 17:34
    Kelly Wilson 23:26

    The 50-miler includes Jeff Rixe (the 2012 winner), Adam Wilson, Silas Carey, Adam Vermilyea (2nd overall last year) and me.

    The women’s race includes Rene Hoover and Rebekah Catalano (4th woman in 2013).

    The 50-Mile Course Records are:

    Cole Crosby 8:00
    Aliza Lapierre 8:29

    I believe you will be able to track the 100-mile race here and the 50-mile race here.

    Check back tomorrow for my personal preview!

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    runScribe: Wearable for the Data-Driven Athlete


    Today’s post is about another really cool Kickstarter project that I spotted. It is called runScribe. I highly recommend you check out the Kickstarter page.

    Basically, runScribe provides a 3D view of how you run. According to the site:

    runScribe is a lightweight running wearable that mounts on the back of your shoe and uses a 9-axis sensor to precisely capture the movements of your foot during the gait cycle. The precision measurements, combined with runScribe’s kinematic engine delivers the most advanced set of running metrics available outside of a professional lab environment.

    This Kickstarter project is done by Scribe Labs. Who is Scribe Labs? According to the site:

    Founders Tim Clark and John Litschert met in 1993 at the US Olympic Training Center (USOTC), where they were part of a team that developed a cycling model using power pedals and 3D video. John, a biomechanist, stayed involved in sports science at the USOTC, while Tim headed to Silicon Valley and became the principal engineer behind some of the world’s most popular video game peripherals. With early access to emerging sensor technologies, Tim began prototyping a lab-grade system for everyday use in cycling. John took one look at the system and said, “You ever try putting this on the back of a shoe?” Over the next several years, Tim designed, developed and tested hardware and new algorithmic models to capture powerful sensor data while John worked to translate that data into a comprehensive analysis of how an athlete runs. runScribe was born.

    I think this is a super cool idea, especially if you are injury-prone. However, even aside from that, I think this is an exceptional tool for the amateur/sub-elite athlete who does not have access to professional facilities.

    Obviously, other people agree. The project was seeking $50,000, but it has already raised over $225,000, and it still has three days to go.

    What do you think? Are you interested in more data?

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    Weekend Recap.


    It was a busy weekend of racing! This post will briefly cover two road races, two ultras and one vertical kilometer.

    Park to Park 5k (Waterloo, Iowa)

    This race actually occurred on September 6th. However, it is worth noting that six-year-old Jaden Merrick crushed his own single-age world record. At the Park to Park 5k, he ran 22:26 (7:13/mile). His birthday is next month and the current seven-year-old world record is 22:20. Stay tuned to see if he can claim that one as well!

    The Fifth Avenue Mile (New York, New York)

    Road miles are gaining in popularity, but of course, this is the biggest of them all. The men’s race was a photo-finish thriller. Jordan McNamara took the win (3:51.0) with Garrett Heath taking second (also 3:51.0). Paul Robinson was one tenth of a second back and Augustine Choge was another tenth of a second behind him.

    Full results are available here.

    The women’s race also came down to the wire. Jenny Simpson took the win (4:19.4) with Brenda Martinez a close second (4:19.6). Mary Cain was tenth in 4:25.5.

    The age-groupers also produced some amazing results. Fifty-year-old Gerald O’Hara ran 4:37; sixty-four year old Ronville Gravesande ran 5:17; and eighty-year-old Ino Cantu ran 6:42. Wow.

    On the women’s side, fifty-two-year-old Sarah Harney ran 5:14; sixty-two-year-old Barbara Byrne ran 6:14; and eighty-one-year-old Ginette Bedard ran 8:55. Awesome.

    Searchable results are available here.

    Run Rabbit Run

    Rob Krar continued his dominant season. He won the men’s race in 17:40:05. While the course was different, the script was the same. Rob ran with a few other guys, made a mid-race break and dropped the hammer.

    1) Rob Krar 17:40:05
    2) Josh Arthur 18:33:05
    3) Jeff Browning 19:06:43
    4) Ryan Ghelfi 19:38:24
    5) Nick Clark 19:50:15

    Nikki Kimball pulled away in the women’s race. However, the fight for second was thrilling! Ultimately, Kerrie Bruxvoort edged Darcy Piceu by just three minutes.

    1) Nikki Kimball 21:14:36
    2) Kerrie Bruxvoort 22:49:02
    3) Darcy Piceu 22:52:40
    4) Leslie Howlett 25:08:12
    5) Hannah Green 29:04:40

    Full men’s and women’s results are available here.

    The Rut 50k (Big Sky, Montana)

    Krar was also in action in Montana. Unfortunately, it was Jeff Krar (Rob’s brother). I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see Kilian and Rob go head to head.

    Kilian was Kilian. He cruised the early sections and then took over on the vertical. He pulled away from Sage and ran to victory in 5:09:31. Sage Canaday took second and Manuel Merillas moved up to third.

    In the women’s race, Emilie Forsberg was on. She beat a tough field that included Kasie Enman (2nd), Anna Frost (3rd) and Ellie Greenwood (4th).

    Full results of The Rut 50k are available here.

    Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer (Big Sky, Montana)

    Kilian won the 50k on Saturday, but his warm-up was a vertical kilometer on Friday. He pulled away from Rickey Gates late and took the win in 46:12.

    On the women’s side, Stephanie Jiminez was the overall winner in 1:02:13.

    Full vertical kilometer results are available here.

    How was your weekend? Did you do any racing?

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    High School XC Is Back!

    photo credit: Michael Greenlar

    photo credit: Michael Greenlar

    High school cross country is a big deal around here. There are some very fast individuals and some very fast teams. As a former high school cross country runner, I enjoy following the action.

    The Fayetteville-Manlius Girls (NY)

    The FM girls won seven straight national titles (NXN) before being upset by Wayzata (MN) last year. FM returns five girls who have run under 19 minutes and three girls who have run under 18 minutes. At their first meet of the season on Wednesday, FM placed six girls before anyone else crossed the tape. Wayzata, on the other hand, has three of its top five runners back. Other schools that look to be in the mix at Nationals:

    Pennsbury (PA) – 11th last year at Nationals – they return six of their top seven and they have five girls who have run under 19 minutes

    Saratoga Springs (NY) – 15th last year at Nationals – they have six of their top seven back

    Desert Vista (AZ) – they have six girls who have run under 19 minutes including Dani Jones, a 4:43 miler.

    If the Fayetteville-Manlius girls stay healthy, I think they will get back to their winning ways.

    The Fayetteville-Manlius Boys (NY)

    The FM boys were 4th last year at nationals and they return six of their top seven, including Bryce Millar. At the first meet of the season, five runners ran 16:00 or faster, including two guys under 15:15 (Millar won in 15:12.1). They won easily – and that was against another nationally ranked team!

    The Liverpool Boys (NY)

    The Liverpool boys were 20th last year at nationals. They have back six of their top seven, but it wasn’t enough to handle FM in this early season battle. Liverpool’s fourth guy ran 16:27 but their fifth guy was at 16:49 – they will look to improve on that to be competitive at the national level.

    Both FM and Liverpool will have to deal with Christian Brothers Academy, the powerhouse from Lincroft, NJ.

    I think the FM Boys will take the national title and I think Bryce Millar has an excellent shot at the individual title (although Grant Fisher might have something to say about that). The boys ran exceedingly well early in the season, and if they stay healthy, I’m not sure anyone can catch them.

    Click here to read an XC preview (boys) from Running Times.

    Click here to read an XC preview (girls) from Running Times.

    And for you XC geeks out there, be sure to check out Tully Runners and Mile Split.

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    Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0


    I purchased a hydration vest for my upcoming 50-miler. Honestly, I don’t think I necessarily need one for this race. However, I’m planning on doing a hundred next year and I want to try something out in a race setting. Also, it looks like it’s going to be a warm day next Saturday, so maybe I will need it after all (especially considering I ran out of water between aid stations at CT50).

    I selected the Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0. This is a minimal vest – it weighs 7 ounces without bottles and 12.5 ounces with bottles. The vest includes two 20-ounce Ultimate Direction bottles with kicker valves (more on that below).


    There are two adjustable straps across the chest, as well as straps on each side. This helps you get the perfect fit.

    The vest comes in SM/MD, which is for a 23″-36″ chest and MD/LG, which is for a 32″-44″ chest. With that being said, I wear a 40R jacket and I went with the MD/LG vest. It definitely works for me. However, if you wear 38R or smaller, I would go with the smaller size.


    The vest is quite comfortable. I have not gotten any hot spots running with it. It doesn’t bounce if adjusted properly, although fluids do tend to slosh around a bit. I threw some stuff in the back (the pack has 244 cubic inches of space) and it still didn’t bounce at all. This was definitely a plus!


    My one criticism is the water bottles. Specifically, I don’t love the kicker valves because I think they are difficult to drink from. In fact, I tried the vest with my Nathan water bottles and it worked fine. However, I am going to switch back to the Ultimate Direction bottles. While I don’t love them, they have a nice flow rate and the mouth is wider, which makes for easier filling at aid stations.

    For a quick review on the bottles, click here.

    As an alternative, Ultimate Direction sells a soft flask that is available here. I also found a soft flask for sale at EMS for about half the price. Tony, the vest’s namesake, was using soft flasks for at least part of UTMB.

    Overall, I am very pleased with this vest. I will definitely follow-up after the race and let you know how it worked out for me.

    Do you ever use a hydration vest?

    If not, how do you stay hydrated on long runs?

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    The 2014 NYC Marathon: The Elite Field

    Wilson Kipsang Cruising to Victory in London

    Wilson Kipsang Cruising to Victory in London

    The New York City Marathon field this year is stacked. It is definitely the best New York City Marathon field ever assembled.

    There are four men that have run under two hours and five minutes and there are two men who have run under two hours and four minutes – including the two fastest marathoners ever. Geoffrey Mutai has dominated New York as of late. However, Wilson Kipsang has proven to be nearly unbeatable.

    At this point, Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Vail and Nick Arciniaga lead the contingent of American men.

    On the women’s side, the international field is headlined by Priscah Jeptoo, Mary Keitany and Edna Kiplagat. Four women in the elite field have run under 2:20.

    The top American women include Des Linden, Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor and Buzunesh Deba (although Deba is not an American citizen yet).

    The November 2nd race will be broadcast on ESPN.

    Check out the following press releases:

    International Distance-Running Greats to Challenge Defending Champions at 2014 TCS New York City Marathon

    American Marathon Hero Meb Keflezighi and Tennis Star Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to Run 2014 TCS New York City Marathon

    Reigning New York City Marathon Champions Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo Return to Defend Titles

    America’s Best, Led by Kara Goucher and Desiree Linden, to Run 2014 TCS New York City Marathon

    Stay tuned for my analysis and predictions – at this point I like Geoffrey Mutai (threepeat), Ryan Vail (top American), Buzunesh Deba and Deena Kastor (top American).

    Are you excited about the NYC Marathon?

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