Monday, October 4, 2010

Tennessee Stump Jump

Some days I feel fast and am able to translate that into fast running and fast times. On other days I feel sluggish and slow. Then there are the days where everything leading into a race I am feeling fast, healthy, ready, only to have a mediocre race. Last weekend was one of those mediocre races. After getting into Chattanooga late on Thursday night I wasn't able to settle down in my hotel room until late. Friday was a whirlwind of talking with fellow La Sportiva teammates and showing runners the current and new lines of shoes. There are some really cool new shoes that I'm looking forward to running in. The Electron with the Morpho Dynamic technology looks great (I can't wait to get this shoe for running in Yosemite), as does the new design and slight changes made to the Crosslite, and the new X Country. Seems like La Sportiva is going to be making some great changes for next year.
After talking to other runners about the shoes for 5hours I was exhausted. That evening I found myself tossing and turning most of the night trying to get a few hours of sleep before the race.

The race started very quickly with a large group of guys charging out hard. I laid pretty far back and got myself into a comfortable pace. I was feeling pretty good. The StumpJump course is a tough 50k lollipop through some of the forests just north of Chattanooga. The terrain is beautiful with great views of the Tennessee River and Signal Mountain. Photo credit:

Going into the race I was feeling good and happy to be out there running. I had a little trouble bouncing back from Burning River, but I really tried to focus on enjoying my runs and putting in good non-tedious miles for training. I probably only wore a watch 20% of my runs leading into the StumpJump.

The first 10miles I was feeling happy to be out there running and feeling like I was moving along somewhere in the top 20. Although I was having trouble running some of the steep technical downhill sections. While other people seemed to be flying down these spots I was doing all I could to not come crashing down. I know I need to really put some time in on running more technical downhills if I want to have a chance of hanging with some of the top runners out there.

At some point between miles 12 and 15 my mind started to fall out of the race. I'm still not sure why this happened; I was staying up pretty well on my nutrition and wasn't going too fast for my fitness. If anything I would think it was from lack of sleep over the days leading up to the race. For miles 12-20 I was not feeling the race, I was in a gap between the lead pack of runners and the chase pack behind me with nobody in site. Running in no-mans-land by myself I fell into a steady but non-inspired pace just feeling like there wasn't a lot of energy in my legs or my body for that matter.
I continued to take in my calories and kept moving at a comfortable pace, hoping I would snap out of it. I don't remember what aid-station it was but one of the volunteers told me I was in ninth place. I wasn't too thrilled to hear this, thinking I was higher in the rankings but I started to tell myself: "alright you're having a bad day, but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy yourself out on the trails".

For some reason I kept thinking to myself I was having a bad day. This didn't sit well with me though. I thought if someone were to ask me what I did today I wouldn't be able to say "oh today was a bad day, I spent 5hours out on beautiful trails getting to do something I love." It just didn't seem like I could actually say I was having a bad day. Maybe not the day I wanted to have, or the race I believe I am capable of having , but in no way a bad day. I think once I started to tell myself this my pace started to quicken. I started to feel happy again to be out there and focused on what I was doing. I didn't care about what place I was going to finish in, I just wanted to be out there enjoying myself.

I kept plugging away at the trail making better progress than I had been and feeling pretty good about just being out there. With about 1 1/2miles to go I turned a corner and there was another runner... I didn't expect that! I passed them pretty quick and made another turn and there one switch back up was another runner...what? Well I closed that gap quickly and right in front of him there were two other guys running together so I pushed a little harder on the throttle and jumped by them. I was flying along at what felt like sub 7min pace at this point in the race enjoying some of the easier trail sections, knowing that I was opening the gap on the guys I had just passed. I was glad to be passing people this late in the race and with what felt like a sense of authority, but what was really great was I was having fun and feeling like I was pushing my body to go a little harder than I had all day. Then with about 1/2mile to go I saw yet another runner in front of me. I was able to give one final surge and pass him and hold on through to the finish line; catching up on 5places in the last 1 1/2miles.

So this wasn't one of my best races, and I know I could have done better out there but ultimately I enjoyed myself and finished well overall. I would have liked to make the podium but it just wasn't in my mind or body on that day for some reason. Maybe I just rolled over when I should have been pushing harder, I don't know and I don't really feel like analyzing it anymore than I already have. I'm fine with having a good day (even if not necessarily a fast day) out on the trails. I am pretty new to the trail running scene; I have done cross country, and put in some miles on the road over the last few years, but going out into the woods for hours with little more than a water bottle and some food is pretty new to me. One of the things I am finding I truly enjoy about running is where it has taken me. Being able to go out to Yosemite and run in back country that takes most people one or two days to get to, running from Cleveland to Cuyahoga Falls, or hitting some trails in Tennessee I would have never seen otherwise is one of the aspects of running that will always reaffirm why I am out there whether I am having a fast day or a slow day.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Burning River 100

So I just got back to SF after a week in Northern Ohio for lot's of Yanko Family time and The Burning River 100 which was also the USATF National Championship this year. Isn't it great how spending time with the family coincided with a race that I have wanted to run, it's almost as though I planned it that way.
Well the really cool thing about this was that all of my cousins and aunts and uncles were also in town the same week.

No she's not mine but she is frickin cute.

It was really spectacular to have everyone out there cheering for me and supporting me. There were definitely some parts that I really needed the encouragement.
Family support.

Well I am not one for race reports and I'm not going to do one for this race either but what I will say is the race was excellent. I had an amazing race that I played out perfectly for the first 75miles and then things started to fall apart a little on me. I haven't figured out yet just what happened; was it my training, nutrition, trouble sleeping before the race, mental, or some combination of all these and other factors I have yet to consider. Yeah that's probably it.

Happy time at an aid station.

I would have liked to of done a little better overall and I really feel as though I should have been able to make it onto that podium but I guess that just wasn't my day and it was other people's day instead.
A bad time. Eating a boiled potato.

The course is totally awesome and beautiful. One of the great things I always tell people about Ohio is just how beautiful it is and how much the park system means to all the people out there, and this race really shows that and takes runners through some of these amazing parks on a wonderful point to point course.

Sound of Music Hill, my family was even singing for me as I came up the hill!

The volunteers and crowds were top-notch and very supportive. One really exciting part of my race was the way in which I was able to finish. Going into Memorial Park aid station (something around 96miles) I was falling apart and not too happy. At this point Annette Bednosky had caught me and we both left the station at the same time, let me tell you something happened there, maybe I could smell the barn or maybe I just didn't want to get chicked (which honestly I tell myself I actually am totally fine with but who knows if inside I REALLY am okay with it), or maybe I was just really happy to be running in the presence of someone else. Whatever it was I just took off, I'm told I closed a 7 or 8min gap on the 4th place runner over those last 4miles. It was fun to be running that fast.

I finished 5th overall in 16:42 and change. 1st in my age group 25-30 or something like that. Not the race I was hoping for at the end of the day but honestly how can I really be disappointed with myself when I just ran 100miles? I think I can be okay with how the race played out. Oh and I can't even begin to explain how awesome my crew was. My sister Kristin and my Special Lady Friend Devon were beyond awesome. At mile 75ish I even got my shirt taken off for me in a provocative manner, and there was some butt grabbing too (all this done by OR to my Special Lady Friend NOT my sister just to clarify).
A good time, getting stripped. Awesome!

Nothing like some butt grabbing to make a runner feel a little better and more energetic late in a race.

If you want a race recap here are some really great ones from other runners who were out there:
Scott Dunlap
Todd Braje
Annette Bednosky
Eric Grossman

So on to some food talk already.
Pre- race I had an excellent rib eye steak from Mustard Seed Market, white rice, a green salad, and a awesome white peach, and arugula salad.
Post race was lot's of different things when my stomach would allow.

Sharing my post-race coconut.

I tend to not be able to eat too much the days following the race, but I managed to get in plenty of Swensons an Ohio staple for hamburgers.

mmmmm a Galley Boy please.

I would have gotten a photo but they didn't last long enough the couple of times I stopped to get one. Yum.
Post race recovery, going barefoot with my sister Beth, Kristin and girl friend Devon.

Today I made it off to the Ferry Building Farmers Market and got quite the haul. On the menu other than lot's of salads is a rustic Bakers Terrine, some roasted padrone peppers, and some sprouts.
Haul from the market today. Purslane, sprouts,
mushrooms, potatoes, bibb lettuce, padrones, chicken livers.

Oh and one final note of something wonderful for today's cold San Francisco morning, I was treated to an amazing hot chocolate at the market from my good friend Marianne of Anna's Daughter's Bread. It was perfection! I recommend checking it out if ever at the Saturday market, she set's up just outside of Boulettes Larder.

White Peach and Arugula Salad:
2 Organic White Peaches (ripe but not mushy) Wedged (something like 10 slices)
1/2 Red Onion Thinly sliced
1handful Organic arugula
1bunch golden beets, roasted and cut into bite-sized wedges
1bunch French breakfast radishes, sliced in half length wise
1/2cup light crumbly goat cheese, like a chevre
1/4bunch Parsley torn

Sherry Vinaigrette:
1/8cup Sherry Vinegar
1/2cup Olive Oil
Black Pepper a good amount freshly cracked into the dressing
1tablespoon Dijon mustard
2sprigs fresh Tarragon roughly chopped

Mix together, add dressing just before serving.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Heat training has it's benefits.

Heat training sucks. It's hot and sweaty, gives me chaffing in places I wish not to mention in this forum, and when I get home I have to wring my clothes out before I can enter the house.
As the post title says though there are benefits to this whole heat training crap.
Today I joined the Dawn Patrol Ninjas on our weekly scouting of the Marin Headlands. Starting at about 5:15am I couldn't stop thinking about what to eat after the run. It had to be one of my favorite treats in all of San Francisco. Off to Trouble Coffee at 46th and Judah to build my own damn house.
Built my own damn house.

It's really hard to beat a post-run meal that includes a cappuccino, a young coconut, and a slice of thick cut toast loaded with butter and cinnamon sugar. Not that I really need to justify eating this stuff when I'm doing well over 100 miles a week but it makes it a little more special when I don't go every day.

Well in other running news I'm ready to start into my taper for Burning River in two weeks. I'm feeling okay right now; tired, a little cranky, achy, and hungry all the time. I must be on the right track then I would think.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

48 on the Iron Horse trail

About to start on the Iron Horse Trail

Just got back from my first long run for Burning River in a few weeks. I am doing a quick slam for my training for this race which I am not thrilled about. However I am also curious how it treats me, so for pretty well. I have had a few little issues that with the help of Scott at Psoas Massage I have been able to think of them as only "little issues" and not being totally sidelined by them.

Well the run today was a focus run that I was hoping to go long (45ish miles) but more of the focus was to get some good heat, and lot's of pavement and flat stuff. Living in San Francisco I have to look around to get good long sections of flat. They are there but I just wanted really long flat stuff to mess around with.
I was lucky enough to have crew support in the way of a really cute running chick I refer to as My Special Lady Friend.
The run went great, I was clipping away at 6:40-7:00min miles for the first 24miles. I then faded ever so slightly as the day heated up going closer to 7:00-7:10min miles from mile 24-38. Then the final ten I was starting to hurt a little, I think mostly from lack of electrolytes; so my pace dropped to closer to 7:40-8:00min miles.
Over all a good run that I am pleased with. I pushed myself and realize I need to be doing a better job of electrolyte balance and keeping my pace a little slower early on.

Time for another big training week for me coming up.

Very much needed Slurpee post run.

***Thanks Devon for the photos and great crewing out there!***

Thursday, June 24, 2010


So this last weekend I was out on a Sunday morning run with Devon up on Mt. Tam. It was a beautiful day and physically my muscles were feeling pretty good. For some reason though I couldn't mentally get into the run. Maybe it was because we started a little late, maybe there were too many people on the trails because of Fathers Day, or maybe I just had things to do after the run that were distracting me. Any how I was simply not feeling the run. This doesn't happen too often with me but when it does I tend to listen to my body. I could have slogged out an additional 10miles (like my original plan was) or I could call it a day at 12miles, enjoy the afternoon and not feel stressed about getting my life in order the rest of the afternoon.
So Devon and I called it a day and went home and made salsa with some of our Eatwell ingredients.

This was a great decision for many reasons; first salsa is delicious, second I want to enjoy my running, third my body was telling me to stop for some reason and I need to listen to that. I have goals for my running and places I want to take my running, but if I'm not enjoying a run then something is wrong and I should be able to pull back from the run and re-access what I am doing and why.
After a nice lunch, and some relaxing down time I was feeling good enough to go out for a quick run through Golden Gate park before dinner. This run felt much better and I was again excited to be out there running.
Sometimes it is good to not take a running schedule too seriously, because ultimately I just want to enjoy myself out there.

6ea Tomatoes (get good local organic ones in season) Seeded and chopped
2ea Jalapeno (I like spicy but use as much or little as you want) seeded and finely chopped
2ea Limes juiced
10ea sprigs cilantro cleaned, dried, chopped
1/2ea red or white onion chopped

Mix it all together let sit at room temp for about 30-60min. Make sure to make more than you think you might need, because there is never enough salsa and it is good with just about everything.

What I decided to do instead of running last Sunday.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Bounty from the Ferry Building Farmers Market

Finally it feels like summer here in the bay area. I have my mother visiting and we have gone wondering around doing some of my favorite things and doing some fun touristy things as well.

Taking the ferry from San Francisco to Sausolito

My first week of training has gone well. I have not been able to make time for long runs this weekend because of my visitor but I think that is fine and probably really good for my body to slowly slide back into the training regimen. I'm looking forward to getting my intensity up again as this week has been loose on training and just picking up the pace a little more than recovery time. Hopefully I'll be able to put in a longish run this Wednesday morning before going to work. After all I need to be sure and be in shape for my WSER pacing duties in a few weeks, I don't want to get dropped!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time to start training

The finish of a great weekend running.

Just returned from a great weekend on the WSER course with a few friends. Had a great time out there and my body was feeling pretty good. I have been working on healing up a lingering injury from before Miwok, and it seems to be on the mend. I think I can start to get some good training in now without putting the injury back from it's current healing process.
I'm not too sure of what my training program is going to be yet but I am planning on having some skeleton figured out this week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

butter, nut butter, syrup, and jam

yes that is butter under the hazelnut butter mmmmmm

Today was a great run back with our Thursday morning crew through the Headlands in the early hours. I have been out of the scene a little lately trying to nurse a nagging leg injury. I think it is on the mend and going in the right direction. It was really nice to be back out with my friends on the trails this morning.

This post is more about the post run breakfast though than the run itself. In typical San Francisco summer weather; this morning was heavy fog, mist, and cool temps. The entire run I was constantly thinking about coming home and having warm tea and waffles. Waffles are one of my favorite things for the morning. I have worked on many different recipes and I am still working on this gluten free version. But I think it is good enough to put out on this forum. So here it is:

2ea eggs, separated
1tablespoon Organic sugar
3/4cup almond milk
1 1/2cup Bob's Redmill pancake mix
pinch salt
2tablespoon Melted butter


Turn on waffle griddle and allow to get hot.

Mix in a medium/large bowl: flour, salt, milk, egg yolks, butter together until fairly smooth.

Add the sugar to the egg whites (make sure the egg whites don't have any of the yolks or in them or they wont whip well) in a medium sized mixing bowl and whip until they are holding a peak and look almost like whipped cream.

Add one third of the egg white mixture to the flour batter and gently fold in, trying to avoid knocking the air out of the egg whites, add another third of the whites and fold in, then the final third of the whites.

Use the batter immediately into the hot griddle.
Serve with all the delicious toppings you can possibly think of.
Today's toppings were:
Eatwell farm strawberries
Justin's hazelnut chocolate butter
Sierra Nevada Butter
Blossom Bluff white peaches
Alce Nero plum and strawberry jams
Maple Syrup

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Miwok 100k pre-post

So I'm having issues writing up a report right now. Not too sure what to say about this weekends race. My mind tends to get a little clouded the few days following a big race. I had a blast out there seeing so many friends, meeting new ones, and feeling really good while running. I'm going to continue to work on a report and will hopefully have something with clear thoughts up by the end of the week. For now it is all about rest and eating lot's of good foods.

Congratulations to all the people who were out there running, and thanks to all volunteers, crews, family, and friends that came out to make this such an awesome weekend.

Here is a interview I did with after the race:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lake Sonoma 2010

Lake Sonoma

Going into Lake Sonoma 50 I was hoping to accomplish a few things:
I wanted to use a time sheet to set my pace, stay on my nutrition without going overboard, have fun, and push myself into an uncomfortable pace for the majority of the race.

When setting up my pace sheet I knew I had become a stronger racer than I was last year (for my first 50miler). I was thinking I could put myself right around Jon Olsen's winning time from last year or better if I was having a good day. Going into the race with this written out plan helped me realize early on in the race if my pace was reasonable and when I should be seeing the next aid stations.

The Race Start

The race started off pretty quick right at 6:45am. As the twilight faded into morning sun 155 runners went loping down the trail. I stayed back in about 5th place for the first 6miles. I started to get into a comfortable rhythm then and started picking up my pace a little. Soon I found myself running in third place when leaving the mile 12 aid station. I had one of those wonderful runs where the weather is perfect and my body is feeling pretty happy. The miles were just clicking away. I was running the climbs at an efficient pace and new the leaders couldn't be too far ahead of me. When I came to the ridge that takes runners to the turn around I new I would be seeing the leaders soon. First I saw Hal Kronner who is awesome to watch run. I new from my time chart he must be about 8min up on me. Just when I was heading down into the aid station I saw Bob Shebest about 2min ahead. I quickly topped off my bottle and reloaded my Gel-Bot and was off. I kept getting glimpses of Bob ahead of me and I new I was closing on him. Views of the Course

On a big open down-hill I put my training to use and pushed to close the gap on Bob. Just when I was about to catch him I couldn't see him anymore. Turns out he missed a turn that took him slightly off course. At this point I pushed to put a little of a gap between the two of us. Miles 35-45 were a little slow and relaxed for me. I ended-up in a gap about 15min behind Hal and what I thought was a comfortable gap between me and third. I was running fine just not pushing the way I was hoping to going into the race. That all changed while I was leaving the final aid station.
Coming out of 45mile aid station there is a quarter mile out-and-back that racers need to do to check in (we do this same section at the beginning of the race as well). Just when I was about to exit the section Bob came running in looking strong and quick (SHIT!). I had been told he missed this section at the start of the race and was going to do it twice now, but that still meant that he was really close to me. I started to push my pace to where I didn't think I would be able to hold it. Somehow I was able to keep this fast pace the entire final 4.7miles. By the end my legs were tired and happy to be done. I'm really glad that I saw Bob there because it made me really push myself the way I was hoping to be doing for this race.
I ended up finishing in second overall with a time of 7:24:15.

I stuck to my nutrition plan throughout the race and only started to fall off it in the last 4miles. Early in the race I had a Gel-Bot malfunction. I was trying to suck gel from my bottle but nothing was coming out because I hadn't cleaned the lid well enough last time and some gel had dried inside to clog it. I grabbed a gel out of my shorts so that got me through to the 12mile aid station, where I quickly unscrewed the top and pushed the plunger to dis-lodge the crystallized gel, working fine again (phew).

This was my first race in my La Sportiva jersey. I was really excited about being out there in it even though I felt like a big yellow dot that could be seen from miles away. I used my Raptors which gripped the muddy spots of the trail very well. I could have used a much more minimal shoe out there but with all the stream crossings
Deep spot of water crossing

I wasn't sure how much mud there was going to be. There were definitely a few moments when having the extra grip was nice.

The race was excellent just like the previous year. In many ways Lake Sonoma 50 captures what I believe to be the essence of trail ultra running. The community is spectacular, the trails are rugged and remote yet fair, the support is excellent and everything you could want without being overwhelming, there is great competition, the views are awesome, and at the finish line everyone is sitting around together talking about the day over tamales and beer. I am already looking forward to heading back there again next year.

Many thanks to all the support out there. Just as last year it was wonderfully organized, and everyone was incredibly helpful. Special thanks to Tropical John for organizing the event. See you next year.

Thanks Kevin Luu for sharing the photos.

Some friends and I were lucky enough to stay up in Sonoma that night and do some wine tasting and good food eating the next day. Some of the highlights were:
Boon Resort
Boon Restaurant

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Roasted Potatoes with things.

So I set a goal for myself to write on this blog twice a month. One of the entries to be food related and the other to be running or adventure related. I obviously didn't achieve this goal in the month of February, but I am going to try and make up for that by getting on track with what I want to accomplish with this blog project of mine.
So here is my first addition in the form of a recipe I enjoy. I hope that my recipe writing will improve as I continue to do these but hey it's a start.

This is one of my fall-back recipes that I end up putting together quickly after work on a fairly regular basis. There are lot's of options and variations I do depending on what I have available and how hungry I am. This is my favorite version of this dish.

2 large sweet potatoes (sliced into 3inch spears about 1/2in thick)
4 medium chef potatoes (sliced into 6ths to form long spears about same size as the sweet potatoes)
1 large yellow onion (sliced 1/4inch thick top-to-bottom)
2ea Jalapeno (sliced 1/4inch thick top-to-bottom, with seeds still in depending on how much heat you prefer)
1/4cup coconut flakes
1/2bunch Kale (torn into large leaves)
1/2cup Fromage Blanc (or a fresh goat cheese)
4Tablespoons Olive oil, or Coconut oil

-Preheat oven to 375.
-Toss the potatoes, onion, jalapeno in 3 of the Tablespoons of oil and spread out evenly on a sheet pan. Generously season with coarse salt.
-Bake for 25min or until the potatoes are evenly pierced with a small knife.
-While the potatoes are baking take the remaining 1Tablespoon oil and coat the coconut flakes and the kale. Season with salt. Set aside until the potatoes are done.
-Pull the potatoes out of the oven and turn on your broiler.
-Put chunks (about quarter size) of the cheese on top of the potatoes and onions. Then evenly place the coconut and kale over the top of the potatoes. Don't stir them into the potatoes, just lay them on top.
-Put the tray back into the oven under the broiler and keep a very very close eye on it. The kale will begin to get very dried out and crisp, some pieces will burn (this is a good thing). Be patient with it and let the kale get really good and crisped, and they will turn into almost a kale chip. Once they are nicely crisped pull the tray out.
-Let everything cool for 5min and then eat.

I hope to have photos to be adding to this blog soon, but my camera had a little accident while kayaking and I haven't gotten a new one yet. So hopefully I'll be getting a new one soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I was fortunate enough to make it out to the HURT 100 course a few days early to get settled in and do a course preview. When I was out on the course I had to keep on stopping because I would be laughing too much. “How the hell am I supposed to run 100miles on this?” I am sure I said this out loud a few times. I could just hope that the rains held off and didn’t cover the course in the infamous mud I had heard so much about.

The H.U.R.T. 100 allows people to go on an adventure over some absolutely ridiculous trails. This year was the 10th racing of the H.U.R.T. 100 (Hawaii Ultra Running Team). Every time I would tell someone in the running community I was training for H.U.R.T. they would shake their head and wish me luck as though I was going off to my own grave. When asking H.U.R.T. veterans what their training advice would be; I would be told to go out to the steepest hills I can find and instead of running on the trails, run through the bush. If there is rain and mud then even better (I think this advice was pretty accurate in retrospect). Needless to say I was a little anxious for this race. Never having been to Hawaii and only being able to go by photos, videos, and peoples thoughts on the terrain, I had only a vague idea of what to expect.

A few days before the race start, I was able to preview the course with two speedsters: Devon Crosby-Helms and Gary Robbins. Doing this preview really made a huge difference because it allowed me to understand the terrain and how to navigate it a little better. I also realized that the course was totally dry except for one river crossing (which you cross ten times). I could only hope that the rains held off and didn’t cover the course in mud. This course is challenging enough as it is, I can’t begin to imagine it covered in mud. There are huge sections where you are running over nothing but roots; making those sections slick with water would be awful.

Race morning came along quickly and after checking in, and nervously milling around in the dark with my Bay Area running friends.

We were soon off into the dark jungle for the beginning of the 10th H.U.R.T. 100.

The course is set up on a 20mile track that does essentially a Y shape with two out and backs and one small loop at the bottom. There are three aid stations runners go to on each loop. To get to these aid stations runners must navigate the very technical trails, and lots of climbing and dropping (just shy of 25,000ft).

On the first loop I told myself to take things out slow and easy and stayed somewhere in the back of the top ten. I was feeling good and wasn’t pushing my pace too hard but staying relaxed with comfortable breathing even on the big climbs. Around ten miles in I was in the lead group running with Gary Robbins, Brett Rivers, Tracy Garneau, and Darcy Africa. We were all chatting and having a good time enjoying some of the early morning views of Honolulu.

We all came into Jackass Ginger (mile 13) pretty much together. I was fortunate to have my sister and Devon Crosby-Helms as a crew. They were there waiting for me with a fresh Gel-Bot. I dropped my flashlight, and empty Gel-Bot and turned right around ready for the return back to the start/finish 7.3 miles away. It was at this point when the lead pack started to spread out a little. Gary Robbins and I started to run together. We both were amazed at how well we were feeling and talked a little about our running plans and past races. Around mile 22 I pulled off the trail to hydrate the local vegetation, it was at this point that Gary took control of the race. I wasn’t too concerned with him opening up a little on me this early in the race, figuring I had all day and some of the night to bring him back in. I just had to make sure that he stayed within a striking distance.

One of my favorite parts of a loop course is that there is nowhere to hide from your competition. Also being able to see all the other runners and offer support and encouragement. Going into Paradise Park aid station (mile 27) I was 3minutes behind Gary. At this point the gap between Gary and I just continued to grow from 3minutes, to 20minutes, to 40minutes, until I didn’t see him on the out and backs anymore. It wasn’t so much that I was going slowly, but that Gary was going phenomenally fast. It was really spectacular to see him dropping down the technical rock sections like they were nothing.

For me however it was these rocky descents that were destroying my race. I was still feeling clear and happy mentally, physically my legs were tired but I was still able to run the flats (all maybe 1mile total of them per loop!) and my climbing was still going really well. My legs were just shot on going down hills. I had to slowly lower myself down the really technical sections and was able to do a lame careful shuffle down the switchbacks into the aid stations.

At mile 60 I was able to pick-up my pacer Devon to help keep me motivated and focused for the night running ahead of me. She helped keep me pushing when I really would have been happy with just hiking the course. For the first 20miles Devon and I ran mostly in silence, just running and hiking the trails. With her reminding me to continue taking my salt and calories. At this point I still had a small sense of hope in closing the gap that had formed between Gary and I (about 40min now). After a painfully slow section going down into Paradise Park followed by another slow section down to Jackass Ginger I knew my chances of closing where done for.

Going into the Nature Center at mile 80 my sister told me Gary was flying through the course going after the course record. I assured her that I wasn’t trying to catch him anymore, that I was happy where I was and having primarily a good time out there. On our way back up Hogsback out of the Nature Center I saw fellow Bay Area runner and good buddy Ken Michael making his way onto another loop.

Ken has always been supportive and has helped get me going a few times when I wasn’t feeling it in prior races. Ken was totally positive and told me which way he thought was the best to get up and over the roots.

Ken’s support helped me to get me ready for my final loop. It was on this lap that my body was given a sudden jump-start. I began being much more talkative and I was all but sprinting (mind you “sprinting” is a VERY relative term here) up the climbs. The descents still weren’t going all that great but they were better than the prior lap. I was having a good time out there on this lap, and was glad to know I was going to be finishing the race with an awesome final time. When leaving Jackass Ginger for the final time (mile 93) Devon said she thought I could finish the final stretch in 2hours. This helped me to kick up my pace again and aim for that goal. I did my last section in 1:58. Giving me a final time of 22:30 (I was told this is the fourth fastest time on the course, pretty cool). And there may or may not have been singing of musicals, making out and holding hands on the top of Nuuanu Trail but none of this has been confirmed.

Ultimately I had a great time out on the trails. The aid stations were extremely supportive, and offered some Hawaiian cuisine along with the standard fair. Although I didn’t take any Spam Musabi, I was glad to know it was there if it was what I was craving. There is a great sense of community and friendship that I was able to experience while running the trails, including hugs from a lone supporter sitting in the dark at the major intersection of the course during the night. Thanks to the race directors, the H.U.R.T., volunteers, friends and family of the runners, my sister Kristin and pacer Devon, Tartine, Hydrapak, LaSportiva, VESPA, and to all the runners for being out there and being so supportive. This is one t-shirt that I worked hard for and plan on wearing for a while.

Things used for the race:

La Sportiva Wildcats: treated me great, only had one very small blister that I didn't even know was there until after the race. Gave me good traction and cushion on the trail.

VESPA CV-25: Took one every 3hours, helped me stay focused.

Gel-Bot: Used one for every lap, two during the day when the temps were high. Allowed me to not have to worry about opening gels, or deal with garbage.

Lamps: Fenix L2D Hand-held. Petzl MYO RXP.

Other race reports on H.U.R.T. 2010

Gary Robbins

Brett Rivers

Ken Micheal

Devon Crosby-Helms

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

La Sportiva

I'm happy to say I have joined the La Sportiva Mountain Running team for the 2010 season. I used their shoes for all of my major 2009 races and didn't have any problems with them. I think that they make a great product and I am glad to be able to represent them. I have always been an advocate of their products, but it is really nice to have the company supporting me and my goals. Not sure what the year has in store for me, but it will be great to be running for a company whose product I believe in.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wow a press release???

I am happy to say that I have recently joined the Hydrapak team. As I posted before I think that they make a great product that really makes things much easier for me out on the trail. They are a great company and seem to really be open to ideas for future products. I am really looking forward to working with them.
And a really cool part of joining the team: I actually have a press release!

Ultra Runner Nathan Yanko Joins Hydrapak Team

Oakland, CA - Hydrapak , a world leader in performance hydration, has increased its commitment to the sport of ultra running through its sponsorship of rising talent, Nathan Yanko.

Yanko has been a strong force on the ultra running scene in California for the past two seasons and will be a making his 2010 presence felt early starting with the H.U.R.T 100 Mile, January 16th in Hawaii.

“I joined the Hydrapak team because they have a great product that I believe in,” says Yanko. “Both the Soft Flask and the Gel-Bot help to make my time on the trail simple and clean. The Gel-Bot and Soft Flask helps me maintain my calorie intake on the trail, and aids in avoiding spikes in my energy levels by allowing me to take in gels and water at a steady rate. I’m looking forward to helping Hydrapak get the exposure they deserve in the ultra running community and providing product feedback to help them grow in this category.”

Yanko won his first trail race in December of 2008, a 17k run in Muir Beach, CA. A month later he attempted his first Ultra Marathon, winning again and setting a course record. This was the start of a very good career for Nathan as he began racking up more wins and trail race experience. In 2009, Yanko won the Rodeo Beach 50K, Humboldt Redwoods Marathon, Redwood Park 50K, Headlands 100 M (course record), Redwood Park 50K and the Pacifica 50K.

“What makes Nathan special is his joy of trail running and the ability to share this enthusiasm to those he comes in contact with…and he’s really fast,” says Jim Vernon, Hydrapak Team Manager. “This was a great combination for us as someone who can inspire others through their dedication to the sport and pure stoke.”

Nathan takes a holistic approach to running that focuses not only on training hard and covering great distances very quickly, but taking care of his body and following a healthy diet and lifestyle. This enables his body to withstand the 120+ mile training weeks common during peak training periods.

Having trained at the Culinary Academy of California and currently a master Baker at Tartine, one of the top restaurants in San Francisco, Nathan Yanko is known for his homemade nutritional concoctions that keep him smiling during his ultra 100-mile races. Hopefully he will soon let us all in on the secret recipe for what he’s been putting in his Gel-Bots and Soft Flasks.

Hydrapak is a leading global supplier of active lifestyle hydration equipment. With deep roots in cycling culture, Hydrapak produces a lineup of custom built hydration backpacks, reservoirs, and bottles for a variety of sports, including biking, hiking, running and riding. Hydrapak components are also found on top manufacturers specializing in consumer, commercial and military purposes. Brought to life in 1996 and located in Oakland, CA, Hydrapak products can be found in major retailers and sport specialty stores throughout the world. More information can be found at <> or by calling 510.632.8318.