Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday Night Lights

We've already talked about Patrick Casey's big mile run at the MSU Open meet on Friday night. But, there were a few other noteworthy performances.

A 2nd one belonged to the mighty Casey himself, as he doubled up at 800 meters and posted a 1:52.66 win.

Both of those wins came over MSU assistant coach and elite athlete Lyle Weese. Lyle posted a pretty solid double himself, running 1:54.87 and 4:14.56.

Matt Adams had another good mile, again posting a BSC qualifying time at 4:17.28.

Heather Haug of MSU and Montana's Kesslee Payne and Kara Dewalt all turned in BSC qualifiers, running 4:59.43, 5:01.53 and 5:05.44 respectively.

Nick Atwood of MSU had a fantastic 3,000 meter time that was well within the BSC qualifying standard with his 8:16.90. With the altitude adjustment, that should get him something around 8:05, which would also get him an NCAA qualifier.

Pretty solid night for the distance folks.

Don't forget that you have a prime opportunity to view not only the Cat and Griz athletes up close and personal - with the Big Sky Conference Championships in Bozeman on February 26th & 27th. This will give a chance to see up close and personal the Northern Arizona distance power. Including David McNeil, the runner up in the NCAA XC meet this past fall.

But, before the conference championships - don't forget about the Fleet Feet Classic on February 12th (just under 2 weeks from now). In additions to the great collegiate action, you'll be treated to the Montana Men's Master Mile. Watch the best of Montana's over 40 crowd as they hit the boards.

Can Ray Hunt and Peter Dan Sullivan be in the 4:30's? Will someone new come to the forefront and lead the way? Who will bring up the rear and have to drink the wine cooler of shame?

In any event, if you have the ability, make sure that you take the opportunity to support indoor track at it's best and attned one or all of the remaining MSU meet.

See you on the roads, tracks or trails

The Muddy Buzzard.

4 Oh Holy Crap

For those that haven't already seen, Patrick Casey (MSU Sophomore, Laurel H.S. alum) ran a 4:04.44 mile at the MSU Open Indoor Track meet on Friday night.

That's a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Indoor National Championhsips; and, when altitude adjustment is considered, it converts to a 3:59.17. Holy crap!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

Over the last 3 - 4 years, Patrick has proven himself to be a great talent and a fantastic competitor. Starting with his senior year at Laurel HS, he just keeps taking upward steps on the success ladder. But, this last development takes him to a whole different level.

With altitude adjustment, it puts him 3rd on the year to date list for NCAA mile performances.

And, quite frankly, it sets him up to be the 2nd man from Montana to hit sub-4:00 (the Buzzard will only accept actual times and not adjusted values).

Congrats to Patrick. Keep up the good work and keep running fast.

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Few Bits of News

Mostly a day of congratulations.

First off - kudos to my friend Anders Brooker. As owner of the Runner's Edge in Missoula, Anders (with lots of help from dad Tim and mom Carol) has generated a whole different vibe in the western Montana running community. If there's a running event in the Missoula area (including Ravalli, Mineral and Sanders counties) Anders and the Runner's Edge probably has some involvement in the run.

And, when it comes to adding some excitement to downtown Missoula through events like the Missoula Marathon and The Roots Run, Anders is a key cog to making that happen. For all those efforts (and for his general support of downtown Missoula), the Missoula Downtown Association awarded Anders the 2009 Downtowner of the Year award. Great Job Anders!!!!

Second - Alan King and Jim Brewer (XC/Track coaches at Rocky Mountain College and University of Great Falls respectively) put together the Battlin' Bear Half Marathon on Friday, January 22nd. The purpose of the race was to provide an opportuntiy for the RMC and UGF runners to qualify for the NAIA National Championships Marathon (to be held as part of the NAIA Outdoor Track Championships in May in Marion, Indiana). The race was run largely on the Montana Marathon 1/2 Marathon Course along Rimrock Road from the Molt hills to the campus of Rocky Mountain College.

In spite of the slippery conditions that came about as the leading edge of major snowstorm was descending upon Billings, 3 athletes made the standards. On the men's side, Shane Donaldson of UGF (and a graduate of Thompson Falls HS and a past competitor at the NAIA XC Championships) took the win in 1:15:37. Second behind Donaldson was RMC Noah Kiprono (native of Kenya) in 1:16:29. Both made the "B" standard of 1:16:40. And, based on past year's, it's expected that this will be adequate to allow both to run in the championships.

On the women's side, RMC studdette Amber Watson was way, way under the "A" standard of 1:33:00. Running just over 6:30 pace, Amber hit the line at 1:25:49. This continues Amber's rise to the elite level of NAIA athletics as she has now qualified for the XC, indoor track and outdoor track championships this year.

So, kudo's to Alan, Jim, Shane, Noah and Amber. What a great thing to see a couple of local coaches who are so willing to provide these types of opportunities for their athletes.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Highlights from 1/22 MSU Indoor Meet

Lyle Weese returns to his alma mater for some fine indoor running. The Dillon native and new assistant Bobcat coach turned in a nifty 800/mile double. Winning both races, Lyle showed that he still has wheels, posting times of 1:57.63 and 4:14.46.

Dave Coppock continues to find some nuggets of talent on his MSU-Billings squad. Sophomore Katy Thiel (Aurora, CO) won the women's mile in a new PR of 5:31.56.

In the men's mile, Nick Atwood of MSU made the Big Sky Conference qualifying mark with his 2nd place 4:18.06.

Heather Haug of MSU made the BSC mark in the women's 3,000, winning in 10:23.19.

Patric Casey and Matt Adams of MSUhad a dogfight in the men's 3,000 as they both made the BSC mark running 8:28.79 and 8:32.79 respectively.

For full results, see:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good Days

Had a couple of good runs this week. On Tuesday, I was heading to Butte (en route to Billings on a business meeting). Had thought about running long in Missoula, but due to the rain and lite snow, decided to head further towards Butte before running. Starting short oif time (before it was going to get dark), so decided to do my run around the ponds of the Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area. During the early part of the run, watched a storm blow on the other side of the valley. Then, as the skies cleared, the sun began to set and it was a goreous orange, blue and purple sky framing Mt. Haggin with a fresh dusting of snow. As it turned to dusk, there were thousands of ducks and geese flying around as they came out of the fields and headed towards the river. A nice serene run.

Then, Wednesday night, had the chance to run with Alan King. It was fun to run through the streets of Billings and catch up a bit and hear some more about his race at Houston. Hung out with him, Becca and Haydena, had some left overs for dinner and just kicked back and talked running for a bit.

And, these types of runs are good reminders of why I stick with the sport. The outdoors, the serenity, the unbeatable views of the Big Sky, great people, great experiences. With these types of perks, why wouldn't you want to run?!?!?!?!?!?!?

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Old Men Running

Wait no more - the 2009 Muddy Buzzard Masters Runners Of The Year selections are ready to be unveiled.

The master's selctions were pretty muddy (no pun intended); but, still were a bit clearer than the open men. But, for the most part, the master's dudes didn't race a whole bunch. That makes it a bit tougher to analyze results. It also means a limited number of head to head comparisons that can be made. But, as with the open men - there was still enough racing and comparative performances to make a semi objective, quasi rational, seat of the pant choice.

Also, as with the open division, my analysis here is limited to the men only. Just didn't have the time to double the tracking and analyzing of the performances. Maybe for 2010 - we'll see.

But, on to the slections.

The clear choice (at least to me) had to be the Waterloo Wizard (or is it the Deer Lodge Demon?) - Ray Hunt. He didn't race a lot (Ray never does). And, we know that he fights a variety of leg issues. But, he has clearly developed a training program that maximizes his limited running volume and gets him incredibly fit. When Ray shows up at a race - you know that he is there, fit and ready for bizness.

How about this for a list of performances. 2nd (by a scant 0.2 seconds) to Peter Dan Sullivan at the Montana Men's Master Mile (MMMM) in 4:40.6. 2nd overall and first master (2nd to Thomas Jodoin - #2 in the open men rankings) at the AHO St. Paddy's Day Run in Anaconda - 15:09. 3rd overall and 1st master at the Octoberfest 5K XC in Bozeman in 16:55. And, perhaps his best run of the year - 5th overall and 1st Master at the Montana Cup in 21:24 (just a mere 18 seconds behind the winning time of Alan King) (and beating such athletes as Mike Foote, Thomas Jodoin, Dewey Peacock and Mike Telling (master)).

His only "off" performance was a 5th place master's finish in the Wulfman CDT 14K trail. But, that comes after acting as race director, setting up the race course, making sure everyone got out and started on the course, and making sure that the event was fully underway. A tough way to get prepped to race.

But, Ray was clearly capable of winning the master's division (and being compeitive on the overall level) of any race that he entered. At this point, he is clearly the standard bearer for men master's runners in Big Sky country.

#2 on the list goes to Mike Telling of Dillon. He perhaps races even more infrequently than Ray. But, he too runs super fast when he gets to the line. 2nd overall at Jim Bridger (behind Dewey Peacock) in 1:24:40, 7th overall and 1st Master at Wulfman in 60:36 and 14th overall and 2nd Master at Montana Cup in 22:10.

In spite of his limited racing, Mike deserves a place at the top of the list based on the high level of his performances. Much like Ray, when Mike shows up, he's going to be at the top of the list in the masters race; and, he'll be competitive in the open division as well.

#3 was a tough choice. In the mix were Kyle Strode of Helena (thanks to Big Bird for catching my ommission in my initial post), John Herring and Kevin Plumage of Missoula, and Kirk Keller of Three Forks. In the end, the nod goes to Kyle Strode.

Kyle's racing was mostly earlier in the year; but, it was all top quality. 4th overall at the MMMM in 4:56. 1st Masters at Snow Joke in 1:22:12. 8th overall and 1st Master at Ice Breaker, 4th overall and 1st master at Don't Fence Me in 30K; and, his crowning race of the year - 2nd overall and 1st Master at Couer d' Alene (spelling???) in a spectactular 2:49:41. Great string of races for Kyle.

#4 is Kirk Keller. Kirk is a tough, gritty competitor. That pushed him to a pair of top 10 overall finishes at Wulfman (9th overall, 2nd Master, 63:58) and the Bozeman Classic (9th overall, 1st master, 17:58) and a 5th place masters finish at Montana Cup (23:03). It's a stunning display of the fact that the "big 5-0" doesn't have to be all about black baloons :-)

5th on the list falls to John Herring. With a range of 5:03 in the mile to 2:56 in the marathon, he wasn't afraid to get in the mix, regardless of the distance. Top performances for John included his 8th overall and 3rd master in the Riverbank Run Trifecta (including 17:34 5K and 36:23 10K), his 3rd place masters finish at Wulfman and his 10th overall/1st Master in the Missoula Marathon in 2:56:53.

Ever so close behind John at #6 was fellow Missoulian Kevin Plumage. 4th Master at the Riverbank 10K (37:20), 4th Master at Missoula Marathon (2:58:34) and 3rd Master at the Roots Festival 4-miler (23:24). All of these were also top 20 overall finishes.

Some other grat performances came from guys like Jeff Braun of Butte who came on real strong at the end of the year to get 4th Master at Roots Festival and MT Cup.

How about Peter Dan Sullivan of Helena? PDS won the MMMM at 4:40.2, was 4th overall in the Governor's Cup 5K in 17:24 and was the masters champ at the Mount Helena race.

Ed Detzi led the Montana Masters at Bloomsday with his 44:36, followed closey by the buzzard himself at 45:09 and Tim Dumas at 45:27.

The Buzzard also had a 1:23 half marathon leg in the first half of the Montana Marathon relay and a 3rd place overall at the Big Butte Challenge.

So, there you have it. As the Sue Sylvester character on Glee would say - That's how the Buzzard C's it.

Looking for a great year from all these guys in 2010. Plus we get the addition of Pat Judge of Helena added to the masters ranks this year. Should be exciting.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Uber Fast Marthon in Houston

Was doing some computer work, so kept the marathon feed up and running and caught the finish of the race. Super, super fast.

6 guys under 2:10. Winner was Teshome Gelana of Ethiopia in 2:07:35 (with a sub:30 minute last 10K). 7th was American Brett Gotcher with a great debut time of 2:10:35. Pretty solid performance by an American.

A race this fast will push Houston into the upper tier of the big American marathons.

King 40th @ Houston

Don't have a lot of details at this point - only what I could pick up from some really crappy local TV coverage and some not-so-real-time race tracking; but, Alan finished 40th overall in the USATF National Championship 1/2 Marathon in Houston this morning. He finished with a time of 1:09:37 (5:18 pace).

It looked like the weather was quite good for the race. Temps in the mid-40's, little to no wind, dry. They do start awful early (7:00 a.m. - it's still semi dark for the first couple of miles).

Alan went out at a good agressive pace, hitting 10K at 32:11 (5:10 pace) and was still on pace through 9 (46:28 - 5:10 pace). Looks like he fell off a bit over the last 6 kilometers - but, still - it was a solid, fast time.

And, talk about a fast event. How would like to run a smokin' time like 69:37 and just make it inside the top 50? Definately in the big pond now.

Alan did meet one of my predictions. He did beat Shalane Flanagan. So, as I'm watching the finish line camera they're announcing Shalane about ready to come in and here comes Alan into the camera right in front of her. So, he stayed ahead of an Olympic bronze medalist; and, gets some face time on the camera!!

Turns out he also ran faster than Deena Kastor, who ran the 1/2 at PF Changs in Phoenix this morning. Deena's time was 69:44. To put that in perspective, Alan beat two Olympic Medalists, one of whome (Shalane) is a sub-31:00 10K'r and the other (Deena) who has a sub 2:20 marathon PR.

Congrats to Alan for such a great run and for making the Big Sky country proud.

The Muddy Buzzard

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Houston Receives A Vist From The King

Alan King that is.

As you may know, tomorrow is the running of the USA Track & Field Half Marathon National Championships. Among the elite field on the women's side is Shalane Flanagan (10K bronze medalist from Bejing), Kelly Jaske (2009 1/2 marathon runner up) and Terra Moody (5th at the 2008 marathon trials).

On the men's side, we have guys like Brett Vaugh, Josh Rohatinsky, Matt Gabrielson, Belota Asmeron, Luke Watson, Tim Nelson, Josh Moen, Jason Hartman and James Carney. All have won national titles, competed in national championships and/or olympic trials, and -some have even run on world championhip teams.

Also on that list is Montana's very own Alan King. Based on his 2:29 marathon at Cal International in 2007 and his outstanding 1:09 solo 1/2 at the Montana Marathon this past September, Alan was accepted into the elite field for the US Championship race. That's right - he's hanging with the Big Dogs this weekend.

I talked to Alan yesterday at his hotel. He's hungry and ready to go. If everthing goes well, he'll be hitting 5:05 to 5:07 pace and finish in a range of 1:06:30 to 1:07:30. That would be a big PR - but, he's been focusing on this race since late fall and he's getting stronger all the time.

I had the great pleasure and honor of being able to train with Alan for about 18 months before moving from Billings to Plains. Running together as much as we did, you begin to get a great feel for how your "teammate's" form and running rythm. Well - in early December, I went for a run on some backcounry roads with Alan and Nicole Hunt. Nicole and I were doing 45:00 of up-tempo running (comfortably hard effort). We were pretty much in the wheel ruts of these two track jeep trails that went across the prairie lands. Alan was mostly off to the side, running over the praire grass and skipping over sagebrush. At one point I looked over to watch him run and was mesmerized - his form, rythm and posture were completely different than I had rememberd. He now reminded me of the opening scene from the Haile Gebreselassie documentary Endurance, where Haile is zipping along the cow paths in rural Ethiopia. That's when I knew that Alan was at a different level. So, I have great things predicted for Alan at tomorrow's event.

1:07:15 (5:08 pace) and beating Shalane Flanagan (who is gunning for the women's american record of 1:07:34)

For those of you who are interested in checking out Alan's results, the race starts at 6:00 a.m. Montana time (7:00 a.m. in Houstan). The home page for the race is:

There is a spectator page that has some options for email/text tracking and suggests that there will be race day links for athlete tracking and online commentary, both in real time. I know that Houston has been an innovator in using technology for pushing out race information - so, I'm hopeful that we'll be able to follow Alan as he races through the streets of Houson tomorrow morning.

If they have any video, Alan will be wearing bib 20021 and will be wearing his white and green RMC (Rocky Mountain College) singlet.

If you read this Alan - good luck - go kick some big dog tail.

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Best of The Best

Well, the Buzzard got a bit of a feather up his rear orifice last year and decided to take a stab at evaluating who were the best runners in the state of Montana. It quickly became apparent that this was going to be a bit of a task; and, since the Buzzard was flying solo on this - he decided to stick with the men only. Maybe we'll add the distaff side to the 2010 equation. Yet to be seen.

But, back to 2009. Given the size of the Big Sky State, found that there was a lot of dilution in the talent pool. But, I think that there were enough races run by enough races with enough cross-over or frame of reference to be able to make some form of semi-objective, mostly rational, fly by the seat of the pants choice.

In this post, I'm going to focus on the open men. The old farts will get their due in the next few days.

At the front end, there were some great athletes out there on the roads, tracks and trails this year. The names that were at the front of races more often than not, included people like Alan King, Jimmy Grant, Thomas Jodoin, Steve Hickman, Keifer Hahn, Mike Foot, Zack Strong, Matt Winter and Mike Wolfe. But, in the end, it really came down to a "front-running" threesome - Alan King, Jimmy Grant and Thomas Jodoin.

Each ran about 10 - 12 races within the state; and, at least several of those were against top end competition. On top of that, each of them went out and competed on the regional and/or national stage.

In the end, the Buzzard gives the nod to.....................................................................................Jimmy Grant of Missoula. He didn't race quite as much as Alan or Thomas; but, his range of performances, his consistency and his level of performances were pretty outstanding. Consider this - he won raced from the 5K to the Marathon, never finishing lower than 2nd (excepting Bloomsday - where he was 36th overall and first Montanan). He won Snow Joke, the Riverbank 10K, the Lolo Pass run and several other local runs. He finished second at the Missoula Marathon and the Roots Festival 4-miler.

Against the top level competition, he beat Matt Winter, Michael Fisher, Mike Wolfe and Keifer Hahn in the Riverbank Run 10K, Mike Foote and Andy Drobek in the Roots Festival 4-mile, and Keifer Hahn in the Evaro Mountain Challenge 10K.

His times ranged from 16:37 at the Wheat Montana 5K, 31:47 at the Riverbank 10K, 39:16 @ Bloomsday (12K), 1:16:16 at the Snow Joke 1/2-marathon and 2:35:10 at the Missoula Marathon.

When all this was considered, had to give the nod to Jimmy.

But, oh so close behind was Thomas Jodoin. Thomas got out of his comfort zone of the short stuff on the track and hit a wide variety of distances and surfaces this year. His times weren't quite as spectacular as Jimmy's; but, his level of performance was exceptionally high none the less. He scored overall wins at the Anaconda St. Pat's Day 3-mile (14:41 - wow!!), the Big Butte Challenge (just missing the Buzzard's course record), the Don't Fence Me In 12K, the Governor's Cup 10K, the Veteran's Day 5-mile (Butte) and - perhaps his best performance of the year - the Wulfman CDT 14K.

At Ice Breaker he took the measure of Alan King, he got Zach Strong at the Don't Fence Me In, Kurt Michels and Steve Hickman at Gov's Cup and Kiefer Hahn, Alan King and Matt Winter at Wulfman's. On the national level - he went to the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race in July (a selection race for the US Mtn. Running Team) and finished a solid 20th in an elite field of mountain racers.

But, the thing that ended up being the difference maker for TJ was the MT Cup. Don't make any mistake - his performace was solid. But, his 7th place just wasn't spectacular. A top 3 finish probably would have been enough to vault him over Grant. That's how close it was between the two.

Next up would be Alan King. Alan raced a fair amount; but, he didn't have same level of top-end state wide races. But when he raced, he raced well. He won Montana Cup, got 3rd at Wulfman and 4th at Ice Breaker. He also ran a solid 44th overall (33:56) at the ultra-competitive first wave of Bolder Boulder.

His quality of performances was stellar. 16:10 5K at Heart and Sole, 25:32 at the Quality of Life 5 mile in Billings, and an exceptional 1:09:23 solo performance at the Montana Marathon 1/2-marathon.

The choices were hard and the Buzzard wavered back and forth on how these three should be ranked. Now, you may not agree (and feel free to let me know your thoughts on who you think was the Best of the Best in Montana in 2009); but, that's the way that I saw it.

The other trouble in picking one overa another was that these are all great guys. All very personable with positive outlooks and demeanors. And, they all have a passion for the sport. It's so great to see younger guys like this who are leading the charge of the current generation of runners. I'm proud to know these guys and to have had the opportunity to run and race with them over the last year.

Even outside of these 3 there was a long list of other great runners and great performances in 2009. Among those would be:

Keifer Hahn - winning the Don't Fence Me in 30K and the Missoula Marathon (in an outstanding time of 2:33:17 (perhaps the fastest marathon in Montana in the last decade - somebody let me know if I'm wrong on that) and solid performances at Wulfman and the Riverbank Run Trifecta.

Michael Fischer, Matt Winter and Mike Wolfe who each had several other good races; but, had an outstanding head to head match up in the Riverbank Run trifecta

Kurt Michels and Steve Hickman- neither raced much; but, when they did they ran fast. They were 2/3 and 1/2 at the Gov's Cup 10K and Bozeman Classic 5K respectively. And, Hickman ran a solid 2nd at MT Cup.

And special mention goes to Dewey Peacock. He ran here there and everywhere. From the Governor's Cup 5K to the Ridge Run and everything in between, he was never afraid to show up and put himself into the mix. And, when he showed up, you knew that he would be in the top 2 or 3. A solid year of top end performances for this trail expert.

So, that's the way that I see it. It's not perfect; but, as they say ---- it is what it is.

Here's to looking forward to more great performances for 2K10. Who's going to step it up and be this year's Best Of The Best.

See you out there on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Remembering How To Hurt

So, if only getting back to hard training was like Facebook. You know how it goes, a couple of quick key strokes and you reconnect with someone who you haven't seen in a while. Well, that's what I feel like I need in my training.

For over 25 years it was just a matter of common practice to do hard workouts pretty much every week of the year. In fact, I'm a guy who (as opposed to many distance runners that I know) really enjoys hittin the track for intervals and/or repeats. I even have been know to enjoy hard tempo runs uphill at altitude on Daisy Pass by Cooke City. "Hurting" was good; and, "going to the well" was almost second nature.

But, let's then go to the summer of 2007. My family and I were moving to NW Montana and that cut into my training. At about the same time, I had some problems with my psoas/hip flexor that really caused me problems with running hard. Just as that was coming aroound, I fractured my patella on April Fool's Day in 2008. That meant no running until August, and it really wasn't until the early 2009 that I could begin to return to any semblence of normal traing.

But, even though I thought that I was training hard, my race performances weren't anywhere near the levels that they were up through the spring of 2007. In fact, I was significantly lagging behind by historic levels of time, place and overall performance. Just recently, I was trying to figure out the "problem" of why I wasn't "coming back" the way that I would like.

Then it hit me. Even though I thought I was training hard, I came to realize that my "hard" workouts were lacking. They weren't nowhere near the level of past years. And, more than anything, I realized that I seemed to have forgotten how to dig deep and really make the hard workouts hard. I was finding it far to easy to back off a bit when the "going got tough". At the first signs of distress I was ready to back it down and say that I couldn't go any harder. But, I know that this has just been a matter of not "man-ing up" and reconditioning myself mentally to be willing to "make it hurt so good".

Now that I've come to grips with the the fundamental problem, I'm already finding myself more willing to not giving up when the effort gets to be a challenge. Hopefully I'll be like Austin Powers and get my mojo back. If not, I'm still holding out hope for that running Facebook.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, January 04, 2010

What Happened To Winter

We've had some strange weather here in the NW for the last few weeks.

So far, we've only had one really cold stretch of weather. Like everyone else in the state, the first few days of December were super cold with below zero temps for lows and single digits for highs. Other than that, it's really been pretty mild. Never really too warm (haven't seen one of those odd 60 degree days yet); but, it's generally been 30ish for the highs on most days, with even a few low 40's thrown in for good measure.

But, the mild temps mean it's always a toss up if we are going to see precipitation in the form of snow or rain or a mix of both. It seems like every time that we get some white stuff on the ground, it's almost immediately followed by rain. And, that leads to every runner's worst enemy - ice.

I can tolerate most conditions. There are only two weather events that I really dislike. The first is wind. I hate the wind. Living in Billings for 16 years, I learned how to tolerate wind and how to struggle through windy runs (hey, it was either that or never run outside :-) ). But, here in Plains, that's usually not a problem.

Second on my list is ice. It's just so hard to compensate for ice. And, no matter how cautious your are, you're always just one misstep away from landing on your ass. Yesterday is a great case in point. The day came in cloudy but dry with temps at about 32 - 34. Just about right for an early January long run right?? - Wrong. The snow, then rain, then thaw, then freeze since New Year's day pretty much meant a nice little sheen of ice on all the paved surfaces.

So, the entire run was going back and forth across the roads to dry to find areas that had been sanded or areas where there was still a bit of snow cover (at least the snow cover was crunchy and provided some traction). Even getting in and out of the car at the parking lot was a trick manuever.

I know, I know - Bitch and Moan, Bitch and Moan. But hey, one bad fall and you're saying hi to mister injury. Not high on my list of things to accomplish in the winter of 2010.

And, as I sit here typing, I'm looking out the window - the temp is a nice cool 33 degrees and the skies are dropping a crappy little mix of snow and misty rain. I suspect that the roads are just about ready to glaze up all nice and slick. Thank goodness for the treadmill. As much as I like to be outside, I like staying on my feet even better. So, it's off to the torture device for me for today as I prepare to worship the mileage gods.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails (and, reluctantly, the treadmills)

The Muddy Buzzared

Friday, January 01, 2010

Kicking off Oh Ten

Got up this morning and took a quick trip up the road to Thompson Falls. It was time to take part in the annual New Year's Day Run 5K.

It's a fun old school sort of event. The costs of the run are reasonable, the course is reasonably accurate and easy to follow, the results are done quickly, the awards are unique and everyone hangs around by the bonfire post race.

As an added bonus, the race proceeds go the Clark Fork Running Club (which provides scholarships to Sanders County track & XC athletes who are pursuing the sport in college) and there are also some funds raised for the Plains and TF XC High School Teams.

Sort of weird weather this year. Had some snow during the night; but, then the temps rose a bit early this morning and we actually had some sprinkles of rain. Just odd to be racing in January in mid-30's temps and in the misty rain. But, hey, it was good running/racing weather and it will make for a good story - "Remember the year on New Year's Day when we ran in the rain in NW Montana!!!"

Anyhow, here's to hoping that you all had an equally pleasant beginning to your 2010 and that you have a good year on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Ending the Season on a High Note

Had the chance to head back to Butte for a couple of days right after Christmas. On Sunday morning (the 27th), I got up early and headed out for a "crisp" 12 miles.

In the winter, it takes a long time for the sun to come up over the east ridge and to fill the valley of the Mile High City in daylight. Throughout the run I had the pleasure of being able to see as the Pintlers, then Big Butte, Then Timber Butte, then uptown became bathed, one by one, in the golden morning light.

And the cold, crisp air (-5 F) made the view clear and sharp.

A nice long run under a cloudless blue sky.

Sure, it was early on a Sunday and it would have been just as nice to sleep in. But, I still really enjoy a nice long, early morning weekend run. It starts my week off on a high note; and, in this case, it gave me a great conclusion to my 2009 season.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard