Thursday, February 26, 2009

Haines Elected to USATF Board of Directors

Kim Haines of Seeley Lake was elected to the new, streamlined USATF Board of Directors (see for press releases on the BOD and about the new USATF structure).

Haines is a long-time supporter of youth athletics in Montana and USATF official and is actively involved in education and sports in the Seeley Lake area.

It's an interesting mix of people who are on the new board. Hopefully they will be able to undertake some real changes in the governing body and move the sport forward in a positive direction.

And, let's hope that having Haines on the board will lend a voice to the challenges faced by small, rural associations.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Montana Men's Master's Mile

Here's a story that I sent to National Master's News about the MMMM. For those of you who aren't familiar with the publication - it's sort of the old guys version of Track and Field News. It's devoted entirely to the master's scene.

It's hard to really convey the full story and the stories behind the stories. But, I wanted to make sure that the efforts or our Big Sky studs are properly recognized.

Montana Men’s Master’s Mile Recap

The brainchild of master’s athlete John Zombro of Bozeman, the 5th edition of the Montana Men’s Master’s Mile (MMMM) was held on Friday night, February 13th. In cooperation with Montana State University (Bozeman, MT), this year’s event was held as part of MSU’s Fleet Feet Sports Invitational meet. With a banked, 200-meter, mondo covered track and some of the best master’s runners in the state, conditions were ripe for some top level indoor racing.

Immediately after the national anthem, the 9-man field took the line in pursuit of Scott Creel’s record of 4:33.7. At the gun, Peter Dan Sullivan took on his familiar role as the front-runner and was followed closely by Ray Hunt and Chad Coley. This trio quickly separated themselves from a tightly bunched chase pack that was headed by Pat Judge. By halfway Sullivan and Hunt had separated themselves from Coley and split halfway at 2:18.

The order of Sullivan, Hunt, Coley (now about 20 meters back) and the Judge-headed chase pack stayed intact through about 1300 meters. At that point, Hunt swung wide and took off for home. Sullivan stayed in close pursuit; but, couldn’t close. Coming off the final turn, Hunt tightened ever so slightly; and, in the closing meters, Sullivan swung into lane 3 and was able to pull off a stirring win at the tape.

Coley gamely hung on in the no-man’s land between the leaders and the chase pack and finish a solid 3rd. Over the last lap, Kyle Strode made a big charge to get the 4th spot, while Steve Bruner and Pat Judge had a thrilling duel all the way to the line to round out the top 6 and the sub-5:00 finishers.

Not only was this the closest finish in the history of the MMMM, it also saw the fastest average finish time and the most sub-5:00 finishers. And, although he was second in the race on the track, Hunt won the title of “He Who Slows The Least”. (And, as master’s runners, we all know what a challenge it is to hold back Father Time.) Not only did Hunt run his fastest ever time at the MMMM, he was a whopping 15 seconds faster than his 2008 time.

As the race results show, the Big Sky Country has its fair share of “old guys” who still love to talk trash, hit the boards and bring their “A” game. Plans are already under way for year 6 and a race that’s bigger, better and faster than ever.

2009 Montana Men’s Master’s Mile
Bozeman, Montana
Elevation = 4,800’

Dan Sullivan Helena 44 4:40.2
Ray Hunt Deer Lodge 43 4:40.6
Chad Coley Bozeman 35 4:48.8
Kyle Strode Helena 44 4:56.0
Steve Bruner Bozeman 38 4:58.1
Pat Judge Helena 38 4:59.0
Mark Slater Bozeman 48 5:01.6
John Herring Missoula 44 5:03.5
Tim Dumas Bozeman 41 5:07.1

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nice To Be Home

Haven't had any time to post in last couple of weeks. First off, we lost a horse the week of the 1st. Erin's horse Pokey, who was 21, went down on Tuesday of that week. We did everthing we could over the next 48 hours to try to save him; but, on Thursday morning he finally gave in. And, it turns out that the way you get rid of a dead horse is to dig a big hole. Thankfully we found someone with a backhoe and we got that unpleasant task taken care of in fairly short order.

Saturday was a full day at the Divisional wrestling tournament in St. Ignatius. 12 hours on small school bleacher seats is torture. But, there was a silver lining. It was a crisp, clear day and I got out for a nice 6 miles with the snow capped Mission Moutains as a backdrop.

Then headed for Butte, Bozeman, Billings and Sheridan (Wyoming) for a 10 day road trip for business. In the middle of all that, made a side trip to Bozeman to meet with the Montana Cup steering group. Had the chance to go for a nice, easy run with Alan King and Nicole Hunt. A great way to spend an hour on a Saturday morning. Then, was able to run with Alan on Sunday morning for a nice 14 miler around Billings. It was nice to visit some of the old sites like Airport Road, Black Otter Trail, Alkali Creek and the Heights Bike Path.

But, aside from that, it was work, work, work. Had a few nights working until 11:00 or so and not much free time.

But, got back home on late Tuesday. It was great to be back in my own bed and have the chance to get caught up on a few items. One of the items that I need to get caught up on is the summary of the Montana Mens Masters Mile. This race was probably the highlight of the winter racing scene for the last couple of weeks. Look for a full story soon.

Till then, see you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, February 02, 2009

Here, There and Everywhere

Over the years, I've kept a list of where I've run (in addition to my mileage log).

First the miles - I first started keeping track of my mileage in the fall of 1978 (junior year of high school). In 1978 and 1979 I had only partial years of running. It was in the spring of 1979 that I started to run "full-time" (i.e. running throughout the year). 1980 was my first year of running most every day and constituted the first full year that mileage was tracked. That being said, since 1978, I've run about 73,500 miles (I expect to go over 75,000 sometime this fall). For the 29 full years, my highest year was 3,241 miles in 1982 and my lowest was last year's dismal 1,271 (of course I missed 119 days of running due to my knee injury). So, for those 29 full years, it average out to be 2,487 miles per year (6.81 per day, 47.83 per week and 207.25 per year). [Probably about time for a lube and oil change don't ya think :-) ] I think a worthy lifetime goal will be to stay healthy enough and enjoy the sport for long enough to get above and beyond the 100K boundary.

Now, where have logged all these miles: Well, how about 194 cities in 35 states. In addition, there have been another 12 cities in 9 foreign countries and U.S. Territories. All those miles have led to some memorable runs. It's impossible to call out one single run as the best - so, I'll try to select a few of the best of the best:

Arusha, Tanzania - running under the watchful eye of Mount Kilimanjaro in the African countryside was a recreational, cultural and social highlight.

Pebble Creek Trail, Yellowstone National Park - with a combination of open meadows, timber mountainside and multiple stream crossings it's a fantastic back country trail run. I last did this run with Kelly Fulton, Dave Coppock, Alan King, Jarred Rensvold and Zach Hunter in the fall of 2007 and it was one of my favorite running days of the last several years.

Boston, Massachusetts - Boston Marathon 2004 - The raucous crowds, the elite fields, the history, the atmosphere - hard to top Boston as a racing experience.

Eugene, Oregon - racing on the fabled Hayward Field track in 2000 was almost a religious experience. I'm almost certain that I could hear the footfalls of Steve Prefontaine and the chants of Go Pre!

Butte, Montana - the hills behind Montana Tech may not be the prettiest spot. But the rollies, Billy's course, the S-curves and heartbreak are the places that, in large part, shaped me into the runner that I am today. Combine the altitude with the never ending series of climbs and you have a training location that can bring out your best. I'll forever have a sweet spot in my soul for these hallowed grounds.

Absoraka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana and Wyoming - if you want a great combination of high altitude, great trails, stunning vistas and spectacular wildflower displays, you need to hit the Beartooths. The run from Lake Fork of Rock Creek to the West Fork over Sundance Pass is a can't miss. It's long, it's got hellacious climbs and the air is so thin it's almost non-existent. But, the wildflowers near the top of Lake Fork are amazing, seeing Mountain Goats on the "top of the world" at Sundance Pass is uber cool and soaking your legs in the cool water's at the end of the run (with a couple of brews preferably) make it all worthwhile. Hook up with a couple of your favorite running pals; and, it really doesn't get much better.

Canon Beach, Oregon - hit the beach at low tide on a misty morning with low clouds. With the amazing rock formations playing hide and seek in the fog, it's a mystical experience.

Washington, D.C. - it has it all. Urban Trails, the C&O canal, Rock Creek park - and the topper of all toppers - running along the mall and around the monuments of our Nation's Capital. How can you help but be inspired when running with the memories of Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, the war veterans and the victims of the holocaust. The first time running through the mall was almost overwhelming.

I'd love to hear from anyone else where some of their favorite places have been. Write in and let me know.

Next up will be some of my favorite and most memorable races.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Another Step Ahead

I've hit a few more "milestones" in my return to full running and racing fitness.

Last week I hit 50 miles for the week. That's what I consider to be my "baseline" mileage for my general training. I've always performed at my best when I hit at least 50 mpw. The last time that I had a week of 50 or more miles was the week of March 16th, 2008. So, it's been almost a year.

It's also been almost a year since I hit my other mileage "baseline" - 200 miles per month. In February and March of '08 I was over 200. Then not again until this January (where I hit an even 200).

Finally, I've had a long run of at least 12 miles every week so far this year.

All are good signs that I'm getting fitter. I actually feel like a real runner again. For a long time I wasn't so sure that I would ever bounce back from the last 18 months. But, just like a marathon, I've tried to be sure and steady. And, it's now starting to pay off. I'm mostly health, my running form and rhythm are returning and the miles are becoming easier.

Just need to keep climbing the stairs and taking it one step at a time.

The Muddy Buzzard