Saturday, May 27, 2017

Soaring Eagle Marathon Race Report

I had never run an Evergreen Trail Runs race before, but wifey had run Dash Point and I was feeling frisky, so I signed us up for the race. She opted for the 10K and I decided on the Marathon. It only took us 1:30 to drive up there from our place, which was awesome, and we were unaware of this forested oasis right outside of the city!
The Soaring Eagle Marathon consists of four 6.5 mile loops in Soaring Eagle Regional Park with a total elevation gain of 2,700 feet. There aren't any major or "memorable" climbs to be aware of, just consistently rolling PNW single track. The race starts of with almost a mile on a flat gravel path where you can really get going at a good clip before taking a left and dropping into the forest.
Most of the run is on beautiful rolling singletrack through a leafy green wonderland. It's smooth and fast, but hard to get a rhythm as the trail constantly darts to the left and right with no consistent straight stretch to be found after the start. The trails meanders through the forest, under moss covered evergreens and over root strewn singletrack. The end, before the descent to the start/finish area, had us running through patches of lightly aromatic wildflowers. The smells coupled with the warm breeze certainly took away the pain I started to feel in my quads on my final loop!
The majority of the loop is shaded, which was wonderful today as the temperatures kept climbing. Even shaded, all of us PNW runners were pretty warm. I drank 30 oz of water per 6.5 mile loop, which is a lot for me! Luckily there were two aids stations. One at the start and one about 4 miles in, both of which were thoroughly stocked and manned by uber friendly volunteers. Thank you all!
This was a great intro back onto the trails for me as I had been spending the majority of my time trying to get fit enough to run a decent road marathon. My legs were ill prepared for the modest elevation gain and loss though. That, coupled with the fatigue from last Sunday, had me in the pain cave for the last 6 miles, but I just loved it! I felt like I was in my element. I felt happy.
I managed to run 3:34 which was good enough for a new course record. I don't really care much about all that right now, but I would be lying if I didn't say it felt nice to run a consistent race after last weekends epic and seemingly annual blow up.
I inhaled a total of 3 bugs and got stung by some nettles during a bathroom break, but I'll still call it a good day :) Alicia ran the 10K in 01:17 and also had an absolute blast. We then destroyed some MOD pizza. The perfect way to start a 3 day weekend!


Gear Used:

5 X Strawberry and Citrus ClifShots
Patagonia Pro Strider Shorts
Patagonia LoPro Trucker
New Balance Trail Prototype






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Marathoning is Hard

I'm a Coach. I coach people through whatever goals they're looking to reach. I know how to develop a plan and how to execute tactics on race day. I know about fueling and pacing and mental toughness. I can advise you on how to run your race and, as long as you have the proper training and psychological tools to execute, you will do it. But me? I missed the mark this past weekend.
Sunday marked my 4th attempt in 3 years at a 2:30 marathon. People say "That's fast!" but in the world of competitive marathoning, it isn't fast. People say "You should be able to run that no problem, you run 50 milers right?" Not right. They're different disciplines.
If I'm being honest, I had a feeling in the back of my mind that I wasn't ready, but I kept that down and chalked it up to self doubt. Turns out it was legitimate, whether I created it or not. You see, I had a particularly rough start to the year with back to back viral infections during and following my 50 Mile run for a friend. After that I hired a coach. Then I switched coaches in the middle of my training and my new coach and I had a miscommunication. I didn't get the volume or Marathon Pace work required to pull off a 2:30. I thought something was amiss for about 6 weeks, but I kept telling myself "Just trust your coach. That's what you pay him for. He probably has a plan." Turns out he thought my marathon was 3 months later than it really was. We tried to make up for lost time, but there's not much you can do at that point. I didn't spend near enough time at Marathon Pace, never incorporated any hill work, and again, started questioning whether or not I could maintain 5:42 pace for 26.2 miles.

Let's take a look at my training leading up to Cap City:

02/19 - 50 miles around the track followed by lingering sickness and 2 weeks of inconsistency.

Month     Mileage    Key Workouts

March     42 miles - 19 long
               74 miles - threshold @ 5:35 - Long with 14 @ 6:30
               76 miles -14 mile Progression from easy to 5:30 - 24 long with alternating 5:40/easy
               47 miles - "down week"

April -     80 miles - 14 mile progression to 5:30 - 18 long with 6 @ 5:33 / 4 @ 5:45
               80 miles - 6 x1 mile @ 5:15 - 20 long and easy
               46 miles - 1:15 @ whidbey island 1/2
               93 miles - 13 = 5@ 5:30 rest 2 @5:30 - 24 long 3 sets 1x3 miles @ 5:45

May -      102 miles - 14 = 8 x.5 @ 5:00 pace rest 1x2 miles @ 5:30 pace rest 10 x hill sprint. - 20 long,                                       last 5 @ 5:45
                50 miles - 11 = 3 @ 5:30 rest 3 @ 5:45 - taper
                60 miles - 05/22 - Capital City Marathon in 2:46

Anyone who's trained for and raced a marathon or who's even read a damn book about it can see what went wrong. Yes, the workouts were stout, but the volume wasn't there, there were no hills and the peak was too late. I also NEVER did my strides, which was pretty dumb, considering I know better!

I still believed I could do it.

I executed my strategy perfectly on race day. I started right on pace. I drank at every water station. I consumed as many calories as my stomach could handle (God bless my wife and daughter for rushing around to meet me - I love you, girls) but no matter how perfect your execution is, you will be incapable of maintaining the pace if you didn't practice it and you won't have the aerobic capacity if you didn't put in the work in.

Admittedly, I haven't always been the strongest competitor. Some days I'm tougher than others, but developing my "competitor self" has been huge challenge for me. In the past, when things would get too hard, I would often give up; the very thing I would tell my athletes not to do. Some of the fundamental principles I work to develop in my clients, I seem to lack at times. This doesn't make me less of a coach, it just makes me a person, like everyone else.
When I met my wife I made a resolution to never give up, because I don't want giving up to carry over into the rest of my life. So, I NEVER give up, but sometimes I slow down and sometimes I say "This isn't my day."

I guess the difference is that now I'm ok with the disappointment. It's sometimes part of the process and it doesn't feel quite as crushing as it once did. I know that it will pass and I know I will grow from it. And if I'm lucky, no matter how fast I get, I'll never quite reach my potential, which means I'll never have a reason to stop trying.






Monday, February 20, 2017

50 Miles For A Friend: A Recap

How many of you have lost a loved one? How many of you have felt the world go black?

Well, we dodged a bullet when Britt opened her eyes after this accident and the world is a brighter place because of it. I decided to do this fundraiser not just because Britt is a very good friend of mine, one of my best friends, but because she is an amazing human being. She's always been positive and adventurous and when I saw her in the hospital after she had just had her feeding tube removed, her mindset was no different than it's always been. Even so, it changed something inside of me. Every time I think about her I feel something well up. While I knew that running 50 miles around a track wasn't going to make a big difference in her recovery, it's the only thing I could think to do. And as my friend Andrew put it: if you're good at something, use it to help others.

So at 9:01AM  on Sunday 02/19 I started running. I ran 201 laps around the Yelm High School track over 7 hours and 11 minutes. It rained. The wind blew. The sun broke. And the clouds came back. I kept running. People came and went, but you know what was amazing? People who didn't even know her came and shared laps with me. People who I haven't seen in years pledged $1 a lap to her GoFundMe account. My mother in law set up an entire aid station like I had never seen before and my wife, Keith and Andrew stayed ALL DAY long to support me.

During a lap with Alicia I turned to her and said "Can you believe all of the people that came out? Or some of the people that are donating? People that don't even know her!"

"Genuine people, Korey. That's what it is. You have genuine friends that care about you, and if you care this much about something, they know it's important."

She's right.

Thank you all. To all of you who took time out of your day to come and support Britt at the track. To all of you who donated to help her recovery when I know you don't have a ton of extra cash: thank you. It's the most touching thing I've witnessed and I certainly have a different outlook on humanity after this experience.

But one thing that Britt said at the hospital about settling still sticks in my head:

"Not to travel? Not to do what you want? To live in a bubble? That doesn't make any sense."

And she's fucking right. It doesn't make any sense not to live the life you want to live.

You could get hit by a car and die tomorrow.

What would you say to the people you love if this was the last day you were going see them? Where would you go if you only had a week left? Where would you want live and what view would you want to wake up to if you only had a year left here? Don't wait until it's too late. Do not waste what you have. Show the people you love that you love them and live the life you want to live.







Photo by David Detrick




photo by David Detrick




Monday, January 9, 2017

50 Miles To Help Britt Heal

So maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't, but my friend Britt was struck by a car when she was crossing the street in West Seattle. Her pelvis was shattered and had to be rebuilt, her legs were broken, she fractured her neck and skull and had serious brain trauma. I'm probably missing something in this list of injuries, but that's not the point of this.
In the 27 years I've know this beautiful human being, she's never once asked me for anything besides a hug, yet she would be there if I called no matter what time it was or what I needed or what she was doing. She's seen me through most of my darkest days and picked up the phone anytime I called with a broken heart. She's a light to everyone she touches. She loves adventure and change and animals.  She's selfless and humble. She cares for all living things and as far as I'm concerned doesn't have a bad bone in her body. She's one of my best friends and one of the best humans I've ever met.

I visited Britt today.

Speaking quietly under the screams of the patient on the other side of the thin cloth that separated us.

"I've been here for a month. Look at my hair. It was long, and curly, and pretty. And no one brushed it. Now I'm going to have to shave it."

"You're beautiful Britt. You'll get one of those hip haircuts and you'll be stylish and cool. You know? Short in the back with long bangs? It will be real pretty. Don't worry."

"I just can't make sense of any of it. You know that I slept through Christmas? I woke up and didn't know it had past. That's one of my favorite days of the year."

"I know. It's just another day. You'll have 65 more Christmas'. At least. What will you do after this?"

"I'm not sure. Life is fragile. It doesn't make sense not to do what you want. Not to adventure? To live in a bubble? That doesn't make sense."

When I left I told her how beautiful she was.
I got in my car and I cried.
I am so thankful she's alive.

I regret making excuses not to come up when she asked if I could visit.

She will recover, but the road is long. Very long. And expensive. So on 02/19/2017 at 9:00 AM I will be running 50 Miles around the Yelm High School track to raise money for her Go Fund Me account. If you have an hour or 10 minutes, come out to the YHS track. Run a lap or a mile or 5 miles or even walk for 15 minutes. Post on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook about why you're here and share this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-britt

Britt would never ask for help. Ever. But I will.

Share this.

We are only $15,000 away from the $50,000 goal, but if you've ever known anyone who spent anytime in the hospital, you know how fast that will go.

If you can't come out to the track PLEASE share her Go Fund Me link.

Do a run for her wherever you are. Wherever you live. Run a mile for Britt and post about it.

Help us spread the word and HELP BRITT HEAL.

She deserves every penny.








Sunday, October 9, 2016

Defiance 50K Race Report 2016

I hadn't heard of Defiance 50K until the night prior, but I was signed up for Oregon Coast 50K and decided that due to my poor planning, it was unrealistic for me to get up at 2a.m. to drive 11 hours round trip to run that race. So I got online and found Defiance, which had plenty of space left as well as day-of registration.
This 50K is held on the trails at Point Defiance starting at Owens Beach. It's a loop course of roughly 10 miles with about 1,000 feet of gain per loop and it's all runnable. Even my favorite descent, Nelly's Gnarly Descent, is runnable; it has a rope from top to bottom, so you just hang on tight and bomb down (I recommend bringing gloves for this). The trails are gorgeous and I sure do love a course where you can get a steady rhythm and good turnover, it makes for a fast day.

PC: Marylee Martucci

The first mile or so of the course is on a concrete path along the waterfront before you climb a set of stairs up into the park. From there, besides a few road crossings, you are on soft, groomed North West trails under beautiful old growth and typical PNW flora. It's an easy and scenic course, two things you don't often get in one trail race. There is only one steep climb, Achilles Hill, and it's very short.
Despite running an average of only 50 miles per week for the past two months following my back to back 50 Milers, I was feeling pretty good. I came through the first loop in 1:15 and the second in 1:17, but during the third loop I lost a lot of time. When I started the third loop I was on pace for a short course PR, I even sent my wife a photo and message that said "I have the lead and I'm on pace for my PR!" but I spoke too soon.
Mid race selfies are a bad idea
PC: On The Run Events

Getting tired had a lot more to do with my slower time on the 3rd loop than anything else, but I will say that this was one of the poorest marked courses I have ever run. There was no mention of what color ribbon to follow pre-race, which thankfully ended up being pretty self explanatory since there was only one color out there, however, during the first loop myself and two 30K guys (one who was really pissed about it) got off course a total of 3 times. On my last loop, after coming to an intersection with pink ribbons in multiple directions, I took a wrong turn and added 1-2 miles to my run. The volunteers were very friendly, but they didn't seem to know what was going on as every one I asked either had no idea what distance they were stationed at or told me a distance that made no sense and contradicted the previous volunteer's estimation. Maybe I'm Spoiled by Rainshadow Running and Destination Trail, but the lack of course marking and volunteer organization became very apparent on my last loop.
Even with those little bumps, I stayed positive and had a blast. Can I really complain about getting some bonus miles?Besides, it was a fast and beautiful course and I managed to snag the win. Nelly's Gnarly Descent was by far my favorite part. It was thrilling to hold on to that rope and pretty much free fall down that steep section of trail. So much fun!
The aid stations were well stocked and at the finish there was endless pizza. Can you really ask for more than beautiful Pacific North West trails and endless pizza?



We went back the following day for Wifey's Long run. Here are some photos of the beautiful trails out there:







Thank you to all of the volunteers who make these events possible.

Thank you to Clifbar.

For personal coaching visit Upper Left Distance Training.





Saturday, August 13, 2016

SOB 50 Mile Race Report 2016

The last time I ran 50 miles was in 2013. At this race. And I did not have a fantastic day. In fact, I swore off 50 Milers all together and decided to stick to the "short stuff" after that.
But here I was. 5:44 AM sitting in the car in one of my favorite places in the word with my beautiful wife and daughter in law, watching the morning sun cascade over the mountain range with snow capped Mt. Shasta in the distance, waiting patiently for 16 minutes to creep by.
This year I felt very comfortable with the starting pace (mid 7's). My breathing wasn't labored like in 2013 and my legs finally felt fresh. I yo yo-ed a bit with Brett Hornig, Rod Bien and a couple other guys who's names have escaped me (sorry dudes!). Coming into the mile 9 aid station, my favorite aid station; captained by one of my best friends, Joseph Chick, I was leading and feeling strong.

Leading in to mile 9 A/S

Best aid ever

Captain Chick
If you haven't had the pleasure of running in Southern Oregon, do yourself a favor and GO! It is absolutely amazing. This particular race has over 8,000 feet of gain and descent over the course of 50 miles, and meanders mostly along the buttery smooth PCT between 5,000 and 7,000 feet. Joe describes the gain and loss as "rollers" but after mile 40 when you have to climb 1,000 feet over 3 miles, it doesn't feel like a roller. But I train on flat roads 90% of the time, so I'm probably just soft.
I tried to hang on with Brett for a while, but he slowly pulled out his RVR legs and I was soon left in the dust. Rod and another gentlemen pulled away from me around mile 30 during a 1,000 foot climb and I didn't try to keep up. If I could change one thing about my training leading up to this race, I would have done more hills, but I didn't. I was here and alive and happy to be, so I just kept clicking along the best I could and tried to think about what my wife said which was "Remember to have fun out there!"
The course is beautiful. It runs through blooming meadows, warm pine groves and a few fast fire roads with views for days. It's easy to get lost in the beauty of it all and catch your toe on a root, so be careful when you go. 

Mile 33 or so

It's hard for me to remember the events of the day by now, but it was amazing. I had a moment around mile 39 where almost every emotion I felt when I had to move away from Ashland flooded back into me. How I didn't want to go, how I couldn't stop drinking, how my shitty race in '13 felt like a direct reflection of the mediocrity I felt in life at the time. I couldn't stop from feeling the sadness while simultaneously feeling fortunate to be alive and to be here. How after all of the darkness, the nights I can't remember and the mornings I woke up hating myself, I changed. How I came home and found the woman that made me want to be better. How I have a healthy body and a good job and more than any man could ask for and how I could die happy today if it came down to it, but that I didn't want to because there's too much life left to live. I felt immense pain. And immense joy. I was proud of myself. And then I said to myself "You can't run well like this, Korey. Knock it off." So I stopped. I was happy I would get to see Joe and eat watermelon at mile 41 and tried to get there as fast as I could.

Mile 39 or so

The rest of the race was a real grind. My climbing legs were gone, but I still had to climb. I dropped a couple 14+ minute miles and felt ok with that. I just put one foot in front of the other; sometimes that's all you can do. I arrived at mile 45 feeling a little woozy and I must have looked like shit because the volunteer said "Here. You need a sponge." And doused me in freezing water. I had some grapes and continued on.

Coming out of the pain cave

I came through the finish line in 07:13 which is a PR for me and was good enough for 4th place.
Alicia and Jordin were there looking proud as ever and I was a happy man.





Gear Used:

Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v3
Pearl Izumi Custom Tee
Pearl Izumi Ultra Split Short
Clifshot Gels and Blocks
Feetures! Elite Crew Socks

Deets: