Friday, August 31, 2012

Inca Runners Ultra Running Camp

This summer I had the opportunity of a lifetime fall into my lap. Hugo Mendez of Inca Runners asked me if I would be interested in serving as the cook for the Inca Runners Ultra Running Camp. I'm not a professional chef. In fact, far from it. Back in college I slung grub as a prep cook at a couple of local joints. Like most runners I like to eat and I do enjoy creating in the kitchen. But serving as many as a dozen or more runners three squares a day? I'm used to cooking for a family of four that includes two kids. The request was not without some intimidation. What if I sucked? You see, Hugo is my friend too. And this was his first running camp. We had talked about the camp through the months as he planned and organized it. I knew how much work had gone into putting it together. The last thing I wanted to do was something to jeopardize it being anything but a resounding success. I could hear the whispers... 

"Yeah, the camp was cool but the food sucked." 
"Who does that guy think he is?" 
"Black beans in a brownie? Moron!"
Could I pull it off and help make it work? And did I mention it would be held at Grand Teton and that Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson and Bryce Thatcher would be there? And that a fine group of strangers would put down their hard earned money to be there?

No pressure. 

The sponsor table, thank you Patagonia, First Endurance, Flora/Udo's Oil and UltrAspire

I called my brother in law for advice. Martin is not only a stud athlete but an absolute whiz in the kitchen and possesses some serious skills in my opinion. And he has an ability to digest things in his mind that I sometimes lack. He's the kinda guy that could open up your fridge, browse your pantry and regardless of the pickings, serve up a 4 star meal that would make your eyes roll back into your head. In short, he can make you feel like a retard. I was kinda hoping he would insist on going in my place. He didn't. With Martin's help a game plan was set and I found myself accepting the offer. He then joked with my luck there would probably be someone that was a gluten-free, sodium restricted, vegetarian. 

This was our playground

Creating a menu plan was a bit tricky. I know what I like to eat but will a bunch of hungry strangers feel the same? Will there be any vegetarians or vegans? There is one. Damn. Love ya Clive! Oh, there's a budget to stick to also. I need to cut my food expense by 30% now? You get the idea. For someone who has never done this it required some thinking. Eventually a menu plan was set and I was now only half scared. As the weeks went by I used my family as a testing ground for the recipes. Kids are great because they don't pretend to like something if it doesn't taste good. They simply say things like "That's gross dad" or "Eewww". And if it is tasty they don't say anything at all. They just leave a "happy" plate for me to wash up. That was the goal, happy plates. 

Mandatory meeting the day before camp

Travel plans were made, the menu refined and I was ready to head to Boulder to meet Hugo. The next day we would make the 8 hour drive to Jackson (elevation 6,200). But not before sneaking in an hour trail run near the Boulder Reservoir (5 miles 500 ft vertical 50 minutes). For the record there is a whole lot of nothing in the drive between Boulder and Jackson. Except a big statue of Abraham Lincoln. Weird. That evening Hugo and I held a mandatory planning meeting at the Snake River Brewery. The next morning we hit the trails above town on the Elk Refuge for an hour "constitutional". Two and a half miles up and back (5 miles 1,100 ft vertical 1 hour) .On the way up we passed a couple that looked to be in their 70s out for a hike on the trail. That was inspiring. Breakfast smoothies, showers and then the short drive over to the camp base where we unloaded supplies and made room for a visit to the grocery store. Buying food for twelve is a workout in itself. Prepping the meals solo was, at times, hard work. Who knew one could get a good burn in the forearms by shredding carrots and zucchini by hand for sweet breads? Thank god my wife forces me to watch The Food Network so much. Amazing what you can pick up there. 

Hurricane Pass (photo by J. Mollosky)

I won't bore you with all the meals in detail. I will say that my goal was to keep things simple, fresh, tasty and healthful. Meals ran the gamut from burgers to fish tacos to asparagus and mushroom pasta. There was always plenty of fresh salad and desserts (at Krissy's request). The most requested recipe was for the black bean brownies. Seriously, it was. If the serving bowls came back empty I took that as a good sign. I have to say that throughout the week there were countless offers to assist in prepping meals and cleaning up afterwards. I owe a debt of gratitude to all of the fellow runners for their help in getting meals served and their patience when things were slower than expected. On the night before the big run we had, I think, 17 mouths to feed. After I finished and the food had been served, I just sat quietly and watched. It was a good feeling to see everyone smiling and not throwing up. I guess I was OK there. 

Jay the Gentleman (Photo by C. Miskin)

On Saturday I was able to get out for the run through Phillips Canyon. As expected, I was a back of the packer. I neither had the base needed (coming off the injury) nor the lungs (being a flat lander). It was my longest run since February and it showed. The climbs were a challenge and the final descent was pretty ugly as I got fatigued and the temperature warmed. I took a few minutes at the last stream crossing to cool off. But I got it done. 17 miles, 3,500 ft vertical and 3.5 hours. I was hurting. Jim offered up his services and took to my sore muscles using his magic stick with a vengeance. I wasn't sure if I should shake his hand or poke him in the eye. Sometimes it hurts to feel better. Thanks Jim. 

Alpine Meadow at Alaska Basin (Photo by C. Miskin)

There were to be two runs daily. A longer run in the morning used as a workout and shorter evening runs to serve as mini clinics by the coaches. The clinics would cover things like uphill and downhill technique or core workouts. After every run Krissy or Luke would take time to explain some aspect of trail/ultra running. One day it was eating for recovery and another day it was a round table discussion on gear. One of the highlights of the camp was the circumnavigation run of Grand Teton. Mountain ecstasy for some and agony for others. It was the only other run I would make at the camp. I knew that 34 miles was out of the question for me as things stand. I opted to join the group about 10 miles in from the start at Jenny Lake along the way to Death Canyon. The day would find me climbing high mountain passes, traversing scree falls and boulders, crossing snow fields, running along mountain streams and waterfalls (and drinking the cold, clear water), through fields of wild flowers, getting lost (thanks Luke) and passing beautiful alpine lakes. And I ran out of film about 3 hours into the run. I was moving along pretty good until the final climb when I got hot and the stomach went south. The final 10k was rather tough for me. One of the campers, Jay, took pity on me and stayed on my hip until I reached the banks of Jenny Lake. Jay had spent the first half of the run helping another camper climb to the top. Now he encouraged me to fuel and hydrate and to keep moving. Thank you Jay. We walked when I needed to and jogged along when I could. I have an entirely new appreciation for covering long distances at elevation that include big climbs and descents. Before I was impressed. Now I am in awe. For the day I covered 24 miles, 7,000 ft of vertical and just over 6 hours. Three passes exceeding 10,000 ft. I climbed through Death Canyon, over Buck Mtn Pass, through the Alaska Basin, over Static Peak Divide and Hurricane Pass and back down to Jenny Lake. I was totally and completely worked over. The group eventually met up at Jenny Lake and a good soak in the cold water was is order. After that we headed over to Teton Village for dinner. Thankfully I did not have to prepare a meal  that evening. It was all I could do to chew my food. I was totally spent. 

Photo by C. Miskin

The next morning folks would be packing up to head back home. Email addresses would be exchanged. Handshakes and hugs were passed around. And we had made it through the camp without any major screw ups. Although running out of gas for the grill on grilled fish taco day came close. The coaches, Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson could not have been more helpful. They provided insight and direction every step of the way. From Day 1 they each offered themselves up as open books to all of us. And if that wasn't enough they brought top notch sponsors on board for the camp. Patagonia, First Endurance, Udo's Oil & Flora and UltrAspire. Campers received a free pair of Patagonia trail shoes (I love my Tsali 2.0), numerous samples of First Endurance products (I found I really like EFS Liquid Shot), we had a case of Udo's Oil and Flora chocolates (made with Udo's Oil these chocolates are fantastic) and a free UltrAspire handheld bottle. In addition, we had the chance to demo the line of belts and packs from UltrAspire. In the past I have used CamelBak and Salomon brand packs. Hands down the UltrAspire was more comfortable and practical. UltrAspire guru and Grand Teton record holder Bryce Thatcher made an appearance the night before our big run. His lovely wife and 3 great kids joined him. After breaking bread together Bryce discussed his background in the outdoors and his 29 year old FKT (fastest known time) for the ascent/descent of Grand Teton (3h06m  >6,000 ft vertical and about 15 miles). His record, that stood for such a long time, would be broken not once but twice in the following month. First by Kilian Jornet (2h54m) and 10 days later by Andy Anderson (2h53m). The Thatcher boys even helped clean dishes after dinner. Without being asked to do so. Good kids. Meeting Fred and Betsy was cool too. 

Photo C. Miskin

But the thing that has stuck with me more than anything else is the vibe of the camp. I could not have imagined a diverse group of strangers coming together and clicking as well as we did. Helping one another without asking or hesitation. Meeting simply as fellow trail runners one day and parting ways five days later as kindred spirits. I realize as a whole that trail runners are a friendly tribe and we all share something in common but this was special. As I told the group Monday night it is a good thing to realize personal success but seeing somebody you care about succeed by having a vision come true is something worth embracing. I'm proud of my buddy Hugo. I consider myself fortunate to have been asked to play a role and it is a blessing to have shared it with my friend Hugo and an incredible group of runners. I will never forget the adventure with Hugo, Krissy, Luke, Kim, Becky, Maria, Jay, Clive, Cam and Jim. 

Thank you one and all. 

At the top of Hurricane Pass (Photo by K. Moehl)
Click here  for the official Inca Runners Ultra Camp Grand Teton video by Hugo M. 

Click here for a camp video by runner Cam H.

Click here for a camp video (Part 1) by runner Jim M.

Click here  for Part II by Jim M. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

OHT and Pumpkin Holler

Me (left) and Will (right) at the OHT trail head (S. McFarland)

Ozark Highlands Trail
Over the last couple of weeks I have had an opportunity to get out to a couple of spots for the first time. That's one of the aspects of trail running that I really enjoy. It's like being a kid again in many regards. Wondering what you will see over that rise in front of you or around the next turn. As the baby steps back continue and my legs slowly return I feel more comfortable venturing further out into the world again. 
First up was a section of the Ozarks Highlands Trail with fellow NWA Goats Shannon "Ewe Turn" McFarland and Will "Insert Nickname Here" Blanchard. Yeah, Will is yet to earn a proper one yet. The OHT is 165 miles of Ozark goodness stretching from Lake Ft. Smith to Woolum. There are some "new" sections extending that distance out to 218 miles but the standard course is accepted as the 165 mile "old trail". Somebody, who shall remain anonymous, had mentioned a possible go at the FKT currently held by Jenny Foster of 62 hours and 25 minutes. That's legit folks. 
So our plan was to make the short jaunt down to the new Lake Ft. Smith Park and have a go at the route over to White Rock Mountain. We met early and carpooled down. The new park is quite nice. Very different than what I remember seeing about 20 years ago while in college. Right on time we hit the trail head. I hadn't worn a full hydration pack in a long time and forgot how heavy 90 oz of water and all the fixings can be. Good news is that it only gets lighter, right? I saw it as incentive to eat and drink early and often. My plan was to down a gel every 20 minutes and see how that works for me. More on my pack and gel consumption later. The trail quickly drops close to the lake. Perhaps a little too close as we found ourselves off course and practically in the water within the first two miles. A quick uphill scamper through the brush and we were back on track. The first 12 miles were very runner friendly. Yes, it featured the usual collection of rocky Ozark trail with plenty of tree cover and lots of rolling hills. There was one good, warm up climb followed by a steep, technical downhill run before the long climb up. My legs were starting to get tired. I had settled in at the back of the pack just trying to hang in there as both Shannon and Will are younger and stronger than I am. Then we found ourselves off course again. After some recon we found the trail. This is about the time Will, while attempting to read the map and navigate the trail simultaneously, nearly impaled his "man bits" on a fallen tree limb. All I heard was a panicked scream and somebody else laughing behind me. I will save that story for him to tell. And it quickly became an adventure after that. 
Lake Ft Smith (Michael Goad)

If I had paid attention I would have noticed that the further we got from the park the less maintained the trail appeared. Well, it eventually becomes an un-maintained trail. Tall grass, bush, brush, briars and lots of downed trees. At points so thick that we were slowed to a walk. And by that I mean more or less the last 5 miles. You simply couldn't see where you were placing your feet. The briars scratched at my legs, hands and arms. And did I mention the poison ivy? Right. We ran through sections of trail thick with the stuff. Both at ankle level and growing on the trees. I could only hope that I had enough sweat on my body to wash it off. Will mentioned the ice storm a couple of years back had really damaged the canopy and allowed the underbrush to explode. Mix in the exceptional drought over the last two years that limited prescribed burns and we are left with a trail that is severely overgrown in places. The final few miles that included the climb up to the top of White Rock (elevation 2,320 ft) were not enjoyable. I was tired, hot and acting like a Diva. I put it into overdrive and powered (as best I could) to the top. I simply wanted it to be over. I wanted to sit down in the shade. At the last trail intersection I stopped and waited for Shannon and Will and we made the final push together. I haven't been as happy to see a road in quite some time.
There is a caretaker that lives at the top of the park in an old house. There is also a lodge and three small cabins (all available to rent). On the porch of this house is a little slice of heaven. Several hummingbird feeders hang in the sun. I have never witnessed a hummingbird orgy until that day. Dozens of the little rockets buzzing in and out created this pitched frenzy and yet a soothing sound. On one side of the front door is a mini freezer packed with ice and ice cream and popsicles. On the other side of the porch is a mini fridge stocked with candy bars, sodas and sports drinks. All icy cold. It is an honor system. You take something you leave a buck in the jar. Will, always the gentleman, dropped $10 in for us and we got busy. I saw a Yoo Hoo get devoured. I worked a Dr. Pepper over pretty hard myself. Then I grabbed a nearly frozen Gatorade and headed over to a trailer under some oak trees to relax. I removed my shoes, sat back and enjoyed not moving. Eventually we all found our way over to the SSS. That's the "Super Scenic Spot". The short Rim Trail around the top features a number of vista views of the surrounding valley and other Boston Mountain Range peaks. We sat and watched a lone climber work his way up a small cliff face. Not a bad way to end the run. 
The prize at the top

But wait, what is that? That tiny, almost microscopic thing on my leg. Is that a seed tick? Holy $#^%! There were hundreds of them. From my ankles up to my knees. Back to the little house I go in search of a hose. I scrubbed my legs with my dirty socks in hopes of removing as many of the tiny blood sucking critters as possible. I already new that by Tuesday my legs would likely look like a bad science experiment. Now I was positive. And they did. Still kinda do a week later. I had numerous scratches, some nice patches of poison ivy and too many chigger bites to count. I had them all around my ankles, on top of my feet, between toes, my calves, thighs, behind my knees, my waist, my junk, a few on my back and shoulders, in my armpits and even in my belly button. You hear that Ryan? 
Back to the house where a shuttle service is offered for $1 per mile (per person). We jumped in the jeep and headed back to Lake Ft. Smith. Just seconds into our return trip we saw the biggest, fattest, most angry rattlesnake in the road. Better there than on the trail I say. And apparently this was a magic jeep that allowed the driver to navigate faster on gravel roads than on asphalt. Who knew?
The hydration pack I used was the Salomon XA10+3. It functioned OK but I found it difficult to reach the pockets for fueling. The UltrAspire I got to demo in the Tetons was much more comfortable and practical. The Salomon is now for sale. The gel every 20 minutes worked OK. It seems like overkill to some extent and I found it a challenge to stay on track. I did go through one pack of Chomps in place of gels in the middle. And I only drank water, no electrolytes other than a couple of S! Caps along the way. 
In the end, this was one of those runs that allows one to take stock of things in terms of toughness. Am I able to put my head down and power through something that is uncomfortable? Check. Even if I acted like Roseann there for a bit. I got the job done. 

By the numbers: 
17.5 miles 
6,117 feet of elevation change
3,743 ascent 2,374 descent
208 chigger bites
87 hummingbirds
1 very mad 4 ft rattlesnake
1 steroid shot

Pumpkin Holler
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an organized and supported TATUR training run at the JT Nickel Nature Preserve (aka Pumpkin Holler) outside Tahlequah. Fellow NWA Goat and good buddy, David Newman, extended the invitation. It was a short 1 hour drive to the meeting spot. This coming October will mark the second annual Pumpkin Holler 100 and an always friendly group of TATURs (led by Stormy and TZ) were headed out for some fun in the dirt. The preserve is made up of about 17,000 donated and scenic acres along the Illinois River. It is the largest privately protected area in the Ozarks. Race day will feature a 100 miler, 100k, 50k and 25k options. David is already in for the 100k while I am debating between the 50 and 100k. Likely the former and not the later yet.
The TOTs and Goats at Pumpkin Holler (S. Phillips)

After a short briefing and photo op the groups were set and ready to roll. In the photo above Edward is on the left looking at the ground, David is back row (right) in orange sleeveless shirt, that is me next to him (shirtless but rocking the Rush Running cap) and the Trail Zombie is in front of me in the black shirt.
TZ would lead a group on a 6 mile jaunt while Stormy and Edward would support those of use opting for the longer 20 mile loop. The course is mostly maintained dirt roads (very little traffic) with a couple miles of asphalt towards the middle. We would be covering about half the race course loop before turning back on the road that bisects the preserve to return to the Nature Center. I took my hand helds and my plan was a gel every 20 minutes and water. I did have a small supply of electrolyte capsules. The first 6 miles went by easy enough (mostly a gentle descent) and by then we had seen the support truck twice. They had various trail grub in a tub, plenty of water to pass out and good tunes. Right at the 10k mark we hit truck and the asphalt. Edward commented something about "a fella could really make up some time on this 3 mile section of road during the race if he wanted to" or something to that effect. The seed was planted. Why not? After topping off the hand helds I dropped down to half marathon pace. The road section is rolling hills and, naturally, quite runnable. As I hit the dirt again at the table rock stream crossing the truck was set up and waiting. Somewhere along that 3 miles of road I entered race mode. I treated this stop as a race day aid station, quickly filling my bottles and heading out without little banter. I found myself now in the lead. Training run? Naw. Let's see what these ol' legs have in them today. Maybe show those young whippersnappers a thing or two. 
Shortly after leaving there the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. The dirt roads quickly turned to running creeks but it felt great. I was ticking off some solid splits before the turn back to the Center but two guys were right behind me. I thought if they wanna catch me they're gonna have to work for it. I just wanted to stay steady on my pace, push the climbs and let my feet go on the descents. By the time I hit the turn at mile 15 I didn't see anybody behind me. And my legs we hurting. I made the turn and scanned the road behind me for any signs of life. Nothing. I knew a hill was coming up but didn't know how long or steep it was. Something told me to respect it though. I slowed the pace just a touch to collect my mojo. The hill looked long and rather steep. Like a slightly larger and more technical version of Crystal Bridges. Since I couldn't see the top I went into power hike mode. I began covering the tangents to reduce distance and the chance of anybody trying to catch me the chance of getting a peek and any incentive. Pathetic how I turned a training run into my own personal race. That's how my mind works though. I wanted to test myself. To push the envelope and be able to take inventory of my mental and physical conditioning. 
I got to the top and felt OK. It was quite scenic up top and the truck had just passed me again. Did that mean someone was catching me? Either way I knew that I would have one last chance to top off the bottles. The toughest part of the hill was about a half a mile long before it began to level out and I started moving more quickly again. By the time I met Stormy and Edward at the truck the sun broke out, the breeze died and I began to feel spent. My stomach, was had slowly headed South was now on an Express. I began to fight the urge to purge. 5k left, just up a small rise, a section of flat road and then the descent to the Center. It would be a tough go for me until I hit the far side of the hill. More glances over my shoulder. As soon as I caught a glimpse of that green metal roof I knew I was good to go. I cruised in to finish my run with a solid time. I sought shelter in the shade and promptly got off my feet. I was hot. Damn hot. And I had dumped my bottles before the final two miles. Bad move as I now had no water. About 15 minutes later another runner made it in, followed by another and then a sag wagon and so forth. I got back up and out to the driveway to cheer on the other finishers.
Someone was nice enough to offer up some Tums for me. That and some cool water helped. As did changing out of the wet shorts, socks and shoes. No blisters, chaffing or even hotspots. I had taken the time before suiting up to liberally apply a coating of Slather by Skin Strong to my feet and toes. It worked. As did the Belaga socks. I had also made a good choice by running sans shirt to avoid the inevitable bloody man-nipple on a humid, warm day. I had kept up with the 20 minute gel routine but it was tough the last hour. I'm not sure if that is gonna work for me. Perhaps if I took in some more "regular" offerings in the first hour or two that might help keep the GI track happier towards the end. And I'm gonna try some antacids before starting too. I'll experiment with that. After getting to my cooler I downed an 8 oz protein shake and again fought the urge to barf. I lost. But only by a little. It was one of those burps with a little vomit mixed in. Before I realized it, simply by reaction, I had swallowed it back down. David just spit his "vurp" out on the ground. He had a sour stomach too. Maybe it was the high humidity and warm temps? I ran in a pair of older Brooks Defyance road shoes. Trail shoes are definitely an option for running out here. Nothing technical or even rocky out here. The race course does not include the hill we ran. It continues around the Preserve before hitting the Nature Center from the other side. 
A big shout out to Stormy, Edward and TZ for taking time out of their lives to support a band of ruffians out in the middle of nowhere running around in the rain and mud. For more info on the upcoming TATUR Pumpkin Holler races click here.It could be quite beautiful that time of year for a run in the woods. 
By the numbers:
20 miles
2,331 feet of elevation change
1,177 feet of vertical gain
1,154 feet of descent
12 TATURS and 2 Goats
8 gels
3 inches of rain
2 peacocks
1 very mangy coyote

Monday, August 6, 2012

Full mOOn Race Report

David, Jody, Aaron (Tatur) and me

About 3 weeks ago, on more or less an impulse, I found myself traveling towards Little Rock with a couple of other NWA Goats to take on the Full mOOn 25/50k at Lake Sylvia. The event is organized by the Arkansas Ultra Running Association (AURA) and is the initial race in the Ultra Trail Series for the 2012-13 season. Only the 50k is part of the seasonal series. Joining me on the trip was David and Jody, all of us opting for the 25k distance. The trip down from Bentonville was uneventful for the most part. That is until I elected to eat a Clif bar a couple of hours before the start. A tooth had been bothering me for  few days leading up to the race and I managed to crack down on a nut with that same sore tooth. At that moment I think my skull partially cracked. An intense, throbbing pain began to consume my being. I was afraid of a long night now.
Approaching the race site Jody and David were hungry so we stopped at a Subway for some grub. Jody, as expected, chose the veggie option. David, on the other hand, went all in with a tuna sub and extra mayo. I felt moved to comment and suggest an alternative but my friend is a grown man. Remember this...
We had asked around about the course and were more or less told to expect a couple of miles of climbing and then some rolling hills on the out and back course. Sounds reasonable. Remember this too...
We arrived in plenty of time to gather our gear, get sorted and signed in for the race. Except for me. I left my shoes in Bentonville. All I had was my flip flops. As luck would have it, at the moment I realized this, I had just started chatting with Tim Harrington. I met Tim at Rocky Raccoon this year as a buddy paced him for his first 100 miler. Tim was not running but there to crew and cheer for friends. And he had extra trail shoes. I picked the Masochist by Montrail, they felt pretty good. First time in a pair and before I forget, I like them. 
This is a "fat ass" style run so now swag bags or registration forms. Just a donation into the can, sign a waiver, get your bib and you're good to go. And that's what we did. Two aid stations, one manned one not. As the director gave her pre-race speech (none of which I could hear) I ran into a local stud runner, Rodney. He asked if anyone had told me about Big Bertha. What? It's the big ass hill you climb to the turn around, about 2 miles long. Great. 
The gun sounds at 8pm and I go out at a pretty good clip. The climb begins about a 1/2 mile into the gravel road course. And pretty much doesn't stop for a good two miles. Then rolling hills and then Big Bertha. By now my headlamp is on and I merely try to maintain an even effort. I began passing folks about two miles into the course and steadily picked off more as the climbing continued. I did have to walk a short distance twice as I exceeded the red line. Still trying to get my climbing legs back. I managed to reach the turnaround in about 1h12m and in pretty good shape. Ready to turn and burn. A quick refill of the bottles and it was go time. I wanted to start the descent at a moderately brisk pace and pick it up from there if there was any octane in the tank. There was. At mile 12 I was feeling pretty good and dropped the hammer (relatively speaking). If I could make out a light in front of me I focused on it until I overtook that runner. That kept me motivated. With a mil left my quads were beginning to talk back to me. By the time I finished I'm pretty sure I left all that I had out there. That's a good feeling. 

Time: 2h13m34s (25k PR)
Place: 16th male and 20th overall
Out: 8:58, 9:19, 9:00, 9:52, 8:53, 9:16, 8:58, 5:16
In: 5:16, 9:01, 8:36, 9:28, 7:45, 8:10, 7:26, 7:00
Elevation: 1,844 ft vertical gain

I was pretty pleased with my results. Especially given that there were a handful of real stud runners out there including Leah Thorvilson and some members of the UCA XC team. The foot held up fine and I'm beginning to worry about it less and less as time goes by. The shin did OK, I did experience some tenderness after the race but attributed that to the fast finish. Jody and David ran their own races and finished strong as well. Now remember that Tuna sandwich? Yeah, it did an Alien imitation and had poor David twisted inside out shortly after he finished. Even in the dark I could see him turn a funny shade of green and break out in a cold sweat. It took a while for him to get his mojo back before we could leave. It was along drive back. I didn't get home until 4am and was beat tired. But a good tired. There is little else that beats a good run with good folks. It was great to see Tim (thank you again for the whips!), The Sasse brothers and their teammates from UCA and the boys from TATUR that came over from Tulsa. 

Stay tuned for my Inca Runner Camp Grand Teton report. It will be spectacular. Putting together some pics and video for a full experience.