Archive for February, 2011
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Hey Team! Woo hoooo! Team Merrell/Akali’s Greg McHale won the 460 mile Yukon Arctic Ultramarathon last night and set a new course record by a day! He’s been running since last Sunday, Feb 6, in -20 to -40 degree temps, pulling a sled with all of his gear. And to make it even more interesting, he was so far out in front of the snow clearing equipment, he had to battle uneven deep snow and find the trail on his own for 66 of those miles. Amazing. And his wife, Denise McHale, won the Yukon Arctic Marathon outright (beating all the women AND men) on Feb 6th, then taking on crew duties for Greg. These kids are amazing!! Here are a few shots of Greg in action…more to follow!
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
When it comes down to simple pleasure, the Cow Patty Pageant always takes the honors for the year. This is a local race put on to raise money for the Sonoma land trust, an organization to support parks and natural areas in Sonoma County. So why so fun? Well some time the after party simply does matter, and this one always is good. As for the race, it is an A+ venue. It is a 12 mile out and back that winds thru the very narrow and shallow Estero de Americano just south of Bodega Bay. Both the land and the river are beautiful and appear to be simply frozen in time. What is interesting about this course is the dynamics of shallow water pack racing. There are dozens of ways to attack and counter attack competitors. Much like surfing, it is thinking man’s race, and with 20+ years of experience in it, local Bay Area paddler Dave Jensen is one of the best in the country. Being new to this type of course, I was baffled when Dave took off like he was doing the 250 meter sprint at the Olympics to take the lead. Soon though I realized he was about to make me his puppet. If I tried to pass in the inside, I would get ran into water to shallow to paddle in and on the outside I would have climb a significant bow wake all while fighting the reverse current as well as shallow water drag. For 4 miles straight I tried again and again to simply out power him but every attempt was blocked. I was absolutely red lined. Apparently I still have a lot to learn. As luck would have it though, we both did simply run out of water at one point and I did not want to be anywhere near Dave at the finish. This was motivation enough to do the portage like I was getting chased by wild dogs and put back in just ahead. That was it for me, lesson learned and the humility pie tasted good, this local race all the sudden became serious businesses. I dropped the hammer and never looked back. The speed and shallow water drag over the 12 miles completely wrecked me. I was able to squeak out with the first place victory but it was not an obvious one at all. And then the wine flowed freely and life was good as the aches and pains quickly were replaced by the laugh and stories from close friends.
Sunday, February 6th, 2011
Holy Cow. This just in. Team Merrell/Akali’s Denise McHale WON the Yukon Arctic Marathon today. Outright. On ice. Beat all the girls AND the boys. Unbelievable. Now her husband, Greg, continues on from there and runs 430 miles to Dawson City. This race is non-stop, baby. First man/woman there wins. He’s 15 miles ahead of the pack as we speak….are these kids insane athletes, or what?! Yeah, Team Merrell/Akali!! Xoxo r
well, race is over for me, short and sweet. Had a pretty good run today, no speed records, but solid run. Well, I guess it was a speed record, but didn’t seem like much of a speed record. Was first marathoner and new course record of 3hr:14 minutes. Really good conditions, trail is in pretty good shape and beautiful sunny day, around -15C. Chad Ulanski ended up showing up, registered last minute, just happened to be in Whitehorse. Was very strange, i figured it was all over for me then, but ended up catching him at mile 17, his water had frozen up….Vancouver boys don’t realize ya gotta wear your camel back under your jersey at these temps or it freezes up….I think that and that he hadn’t ran more than 20km in the last 8 months or so.
As for the boy, he is doing great! Spot tracking devices, so you can follow him. last I checked about 20 mins ago, he had run 100km in about 11.5 hours, so figure he should be into the first real CP by 7′ish tomorrow morning. I won’t see him as can’t get away tomorrow, so another friend will grab bags and truck from our place and meet him. Will see him the remainder of the way. I think he’s about 15 miles or so ahead of the next runner, and there’s a couple of bikers ahead of him.
Well, better run, chat later,
Friday, February 4th, 2011
Hey Gang! Team Merrell/Akali’s Greg McHale’s final thoughts before his 430 mile ice ultra run from Whitehorse to Dawson City (incidentally, the same route as the Yukon River Quest, the paddling race that Carter, David and I won in the solo and team divisions this Summer!). Is he going to make it a 4peat for Team Merrell/Akali?! The race starts on Sunday morning. www.arcticultra.de
Go Greg and Denise!
Well, its two days until the race and everything seems to be coming together. Even after months of training and prep, it is tough to fully get a grasp on what a 430mile foot race will be like. I have my schedule and time frames all worked out, but the quote that comes to mind most is “The best layed plans of mice and men, often go astray” so keeping this in mind I know anything can happen out there.
For me the thing that differs the most about this race isn’t the amount of pain or suffering that I will go through but the fact that I will be doing it alone. I’ve completed many of these ultra endurance events in Adventure Racing, many of which quite a bit further, but never alone and never just a single discipline. So the personal challenge of this race is very appealing as it will get me out of my normal race routine and challenge me in a different way. Because lets face it we don’t do these events for the glory, it’s all about personal challenge.
It is pretty tough to make a time prediction but if all goes well I should hit Dawson City in about seven days. The Yukon Quest dog race leaves Whitehorse the day before we start and I want to make sure that the first musher into Dawson doesn’t make it there twice as fast as I do.
I still have some last minute modifications to my pulk to make so, in true adventure racing style I probably won’t get too much sleep over the next few days before the event. It wouldn’t be like a real race for me if I wasn’t scrambling right to the end. Denise can attest to this. It is interesting, she doesn’t seem to be all that concerned maybe because for the first time it doesn’t effect her. Either way, ready or not, Ill be at the start line on Sunday at 10:30am to GET MOVIN!
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Yeah, Carter! Holding his own with olympic sprint paddlers in San Diego! Xo Robyn
Race 3 - 01/29/2011 – Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge – San Diego, CA
3st place overall
I knew going into this race that it would be brutal and one to remember. San Diego is home to Olympic Training center in Chula Vista and on the roster were a handful of past and current Olympians who are training there full time. The Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge is also one of the largest races in California. Over 400 crafts participated this year. The beach was lit up with dozens of sponsor tent and there was an undeniably large amount of energy in the air. No matter what went down, I could already tell it was going to be a perfect day. At only 8 miles the course was shorter than most ocean races which unfortunately does not mean easier, it just means you have to go faster. And with all the Sprint Olympic specialist at the starting line, this was going to mean really fast today, especially for an ultra marathoner like my self, but I was ready to give it all I had. Immediately as the gun went off a pack of 3 formed. Rich Sprout, an Olympic hopeful for the USA lead the charge followed closely by David Guber from the Swiss team. David is training in sunny San Diego while his homeland is covered in snow. I was 3rd holding on for dear life but giving it all I had. My forearms were absolutely on fire holding the pace. Over the next 8 miles Rich kept his lead with David about 30 second back and me another 30 behind that. The ocean was flat but every once and a while there were some rogue waves to ride. As we rounded the harbor I figured it was time to give it all I had and put the head down. It turned out to be a worthwhile effort and got me just under 4 seconds off of slipping into 2nd place. I have raced the Chula Vista Olympic crowd before but never was able to get within even 5 minutes of them. You can only imagine how please I was by closing this gap to just seconds. I have to chalk this up as my best and most meaningful podium finish of the past few years and truly cannot wait to have the opportunity race such talent again. Not bad for a full time working man with an addiction for adventure.
Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
Team Merrell/Akali Pre-Event Report–Arctic Ultra 2011
By Denise McHale
The Yukon Ultra for me is a warm-up for the 2011 race season. I realize as I write that, that calling running a marathon in Yukon in February a warm-up could be considered a bit strange by some, however I suppose it is all relative. As I’ve watched Greg`s training progress and run a few hours here and there with him as he trains for the 430 mile run to Dawson, I have kept in mind that the marathon really is a warm-up, whatever the weather decides to do!
I was really pleased to end the 2010 season with a Persona Best and new Canadian 100km record at the World Championships in Gibraltar in November as part of Team Canada. I decided for the first time in a few years to take a real off-season afterwards. I find pavement running, and especially that distance to be pretty tough on the body. I think I needed a break mentally as much as physically after weeks and weeks of long weekend runs. I spent the remainder of November and December running with no agenda, or purpose other than simply running for the enjoyment of being active. It reminded me of how much I love to run and be active and the need to take care of my body, so that I may continue to be run and be active all my life. We have traveled and raced in so many amazing places with our head down and hair on fire, that someday we`ll go back and explore at a little more leisurely pace, and I want to be healthy enough to do that, which requires training smart and allowing the body time to recover.
I continued to run throughout November and December, with a couple of 2 hour fun runs with our new running group thrown in here and there, and as a result, I think I`ve managed to keep a reasonable level of fitness to start the new year in pretty good shape. More importantly, I`ve started the new year, feeling healthy and with renewed enthusiasm to get back training and excited for the upcoming challenges 2011 will bring!
Last weekend we did a 4 hour run, which is my longest run since November, and I felt good, despite being frozen solid after. It was only -25C, but there was a very cold north wind, so not sure what the wind chill brought it down to. I`m going to cross my fingers that the weather is better the week of the race for those going onto Braeburn, Pelly and especially Dawson.
As far as my goals for the marathon, although I`m pretty relaxed about this race and looking at it partially as just a training opportunity in my back yard, my competitive nature has my eyes set on the course record, which is 3hr:57 minutes. Given the fact that this course is not really comparable to a road marathon, I think it is a reasonable goal, however conditions will dictate the possibility of that early on. If we get a nice freeze up and no fresh snow for a few days before the race, the trail could be in great condition. Alternatively fresh snow and snow machines travelling back and forth on the trail could make it punchy and turn it into more of a slog than a run. Either way, it will be over pretty quick for me and the others running the marathon and I`ll be out on the trail where I can to support Greg on his race to Dawson.
With that in mind, were off to check out part of the race course right now and see how the trail conditions are. Beautiful day here today, -13C right now and calling for sunshine. Last long run before the race starts in two weeks! Denise
Side note from robyn: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?! :). Xoxo from San Diego. ;). R