Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spokane Trail Run & Don Kardong

While I was in Spokane last weekend, I got to go for a trail run. I ran in the rain on Sunday morning on the trails in Riverside State Park, downriver from downtown a couple of miles.

I always gravitate to these trails when I'm in town. While running, I ended up hooking-up with Don Kardong and a father and son from Oregon...(John & Brian Sniffer???). Even though they were running in the opposite direction, I figured it would make me run farther than I wanted to, and it worked. It added 8 miles or so to my run, and I got to run with and talk to a legend.

Don Kardong is probably the best-known runner from Spokane. He and Gerry Lindgren, anyway. (Spokane is definitely a runner's town).

Don Kardong was the fourth-place finisher in the 1976 Olympic marathon. He's been a running journalist and helped found the annual Bloomsday Run (12K) in 1977. (I started running in it in 1978 and have run it at least 18 or 20 times). The Bloomsday Run now attracts more than 40,000 participants, and has had up to 60-thousand-plus runners. He has been everything from an elementary school teacher to a magazine writer, is now responsible for shepherding the event through the long months between its annual event time in May.

I really enjoy his writing style. One of my favorite books by him is Hills, Hawgs and Ho Chi Minh. Most recently, he has written for Runner's World and now for Marathon and Beyond.

Anyway, running with Don and two other experienced runners was a wonderful way to start-out my Sunday right. What's interesting: every other time that I'm in Spokane and run on those trails, I seem to run into Don. In fact, he doesn't remember me from when I lived there, but he seems to know me as the "guy from Kansas City who runs trails." Which, coincidentally, is about as apt as a description as I can come up with for myself.

Something many do not know about me:
My running lifestyle is all due to my grandfather and Don's Bloomsday Race. Back when I was 30 years younger, I used to be a "weekend runner" and wasn't in the best of shape. When Bloomsday would come around (every first Sunday in May), I would train hard for 2 to 6 weeks leading up to the race. I would then run the race, puke, and recover slowly over the next week.

By the end of my twenties and into my 30s, I was training less and puking more. My times got so slow, that when I'd look my "official" time up in the Spokesman Review the next morning, my 80-something Grandfather's time was closing-in on my time. (And sometimes he had pushed my Grandmother in a wheelchair through the entire course). In fact, my Grandfather placed well in his age group, all through his 70s and eighties. (He ended up running it until a few of years prior to his death at 96).

So staying in shape to stay ahead of my Grandpa was a HUGE goal, but I also wanted to get in good enough shape to be on my company's Corporate Cup Team, which would give me a better starting position in the well-attended race. I trained in earnest, and eventually finished the race in under an hour. I finally got onto the Corporate Cup Team, and had a few good years (until I moved away), with finishing times between 50 and 53 minutes. Which is fast for me, anyway.

Bloomsday led to other things. My first marathon was the CoeurD'Alene Marathon in 1990. And then Seattle. And then Portland (6 times), and many others to come. And then in 1999, I gave-up running on pavement (mostly), and now stick to mainly doing 50Ks, 50-milers, and 100s on trails. And now I shepherd my own running group and have my own set of races. My group is catching on, is expanding faster than I ever thought possible, and even has huge female following and subgroup.

So thank you, Don Kardong! You have inspired so many to take-up running and shuck the sedentary lifestyle. Even though I didn't want to say it while running with you (for fear of sounding corny or disingenuous), you are one of my heros.

Pod Trod

The Trail Nerds have been busy!

Last weekend, we hosted the first-ever Pod Trod MP3-Mile Challenge. Gary Henry was the official Race Director. (I was out of town for a family gig in Spokane, Washington).

This race had three different courses, but started and finished at the same place and time.
All courses were approximately 3.1 miles in distance.
Participants did not know the courses in advance.
They downloaded one of the course's instructions in MP3 format (from our web site) the night before or the morning of the race. It was their choice which course they picked, and it was the "luck of the draw" as to which course was more difficult.
All entrants wore IPods (or other brand MP3 players) and followed the instructions given, to complete their selected course. (Runners had to provide their own IPods or MP3 players). They were required to pick-up "Trail Tokens" along the way to prove they completed the correct course.
If someone was "IPod Challenged" and couldn't figure-out how to download the attached files, they could run with someone who had an IPod, but were supposed to be wearing a shirt that had the words "I'm with Stupid" written on it.

This race had some fun categories and awards for:

Trail Savant: 1st place M/F for each different course
Special Idiot
Blind as a Cave-dwelling Fish
Instuctionally Hearing-impaired
Rock-banging Neo-Luddite
Lost beyond all Possible Reason

Other News:
We've also had some really good press, recently...besides a newspaper article, podcasts, and a one-hour radio show, we had a 5-page article from an "embedded reporter" who ran with us.

We also had a lot of fun at the Mud and Muck run.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Friend Otto

I flew up to Spokane early this morning for some fun family stuff.

My first stop in Spokane is always at my friend Dave "Otto" Mueller's house. Otto and I have been friends for 20 years now. He's a reclusive artist, and has had a tough time with his advanced arthritis, but this year he's been prolific, artwise.

I want to share some of his work in his house which is an art gallery in itself, even though photos can't do justice to:

OttoMueller_Sep2008 001

OttoMueller_Sep2008 035

OttoMueller_Sep2008 026

Many more, click here

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fabulous Trailrunning Media Blitz

My Grandson, at Mud and Muck 5K, being helped by Laurie "Nerdo" Euler.

I've been REALLY BUSY of late, both at work and running. I promise that I'll post some race reports and fantastic photos, soon. Until then...

The Trail Nerds have had some great media coverage, of late. Here are some of the various articles, podcasts, etc:

A Fabulous Newspaper article, Sep 11: Trail Nuts - Pitch

Newspaper Article, Aug 26 - Running Dirty

Endurance Planet - Bad Ben's Chronicles: The Nipple Report
There's nothing that rubs endurance athletes more wrong than raw nipples. Today on Endurance Planet, a Bad Ben's Chronicles edition, we hear from the head trail nerd about how athletes can avoid chafing on those long training runs and races.

Endurance Planet - Bad Ben's Chronicles: Leadville Trail 100 Race Report
Podcast version of a race report from Tony "Semper Fast" Clark. Tony recently completed an especially difficult version of the annual Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run, and some Trail Nerds were there to help out.
Play in Windows Media
Play in RealPlayer
Play mp3 stream
Direct link to mp3 file

Kyle Amos & Ben Holmes on the Walt Bodine Show: July 2, 2008.
Kyle and Ben answer questions and wax prolific about trail and ultra running on this popular local radio show. This show takes a look at a different kind of distance running as a growing number of people are moving off the pavement and onto the trails. Meet two runners who embrace trail running over distances up to 100 miles. Hear why they prefer this particular form and what makes them run these "ultra" distances. 1-hour long.
Listen or Download To download this audio file, right click and select 'Save Target As...'

Video: A family of mud-slingers at the Mud and Muck run.