Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breaking Ice & Breaking Wind

On a morning that lived up to the name of the race - the Ice Breaker Road Race took place last Sunday in Great Falls.

On the men's side, Ezkysas Sisay of Ethiopia took the win in a stellar time of 23:15.  Pulling in 2nd was Bernard Langat of Kenyan at 25:00.  But, the rest of the top 5 was comprised fully of Montanan's. 

Alan King picked up where he left off in 2010 - running 3rd in a speedy 26:02.

Alan King battles the snow at Ice Breaker

Next in was Pat Judge - hitting it big on both the open and master's scene.  His 27:20 was a most impressive time for an old guy :-)

And, it held off the charge of young buck Jesse Zentz's 27:21.  Jesse is a Billings West and UM grad.  For the last couple of years, he's been a sports writer in Boise.  He recently moved back to Montana and is writing sports for the Independent Record.  A nice welcome home race for Jesse.

Also cracking the top 10 was master's runner Jeff Braun with his 28:56.

On the women's side - Evelyne Lagat of Kenya won in 27:28.  Next up was Rachel Brewer of Great Falls in 30:02.  She was followed by Nicole Hunt (who also took the master's crown) in 32:16.  4th and 5th place also broke the 33:00 barrier - Great Fallsians (what do folks in GF call themselves) Marilee Woyth and Sandy Thomas hit 32:43 and 32:48 respectively.

King wasn't done with the racing however.  On a whim, he decidedc to do his own personal trifecta and won the 3-mile in 15:27 and the Mile in 4:23.  Not a bad day for Mr. King.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Beans and Walnuts

A few impressive performances by Montanan's on the big stage(s) last weekend.

First up was the track and field frenzy that is Mt. Sac.  Held each year in Walnut, CA - it is regularly one of the races that many of the top US runners use to kick off their outdoor track campaign.  Such was the case of the brother & sister steeplechase team of John and Lois Ricardi-Keller.  Both ran in the Elite divisions of the steeple - John placing 5th in 8:44.88 in the men's field; and, Lois hitting 10:12.85 in placing 7th on the women's side.

In the 1500, MSU's (and Laurel native) Patrick Casey ran 9th at 3:43.69 (the equivalent of about a 4:01 mile).  Included in the field were Chris Solinsky (the American Record holder at 10,000 meters) and Olympian Matt Tegenkamp.  9th place in this field was a stellar performance.

A couple of days later (Monday the 18th) was the Boston Marathon.  On a day of low temps and a strong, steady tailwind times were smoking fast.  With the men's winner at just over 2:03 and the women at slightly over 2:20, it was an incredibly fast day on this storied course. Included in those fast times were a few folks from the Big Sky state.

First in was a temporary Montana resident - Jacob Bradosky is currently a member of the Air Force who is stationed at Malmstrom Air Force base in Great Falls.  A past winner of the Marine Corps Marathon, Bradosky hit it big in Beantown - how about this for impressive - 2:21.11 and 25th overall (including a negative split racde of 70:56 and 70:15).

Next in was Gardiner native and MSU alum Josh Ricardi.  Running under 2:30 for the first time - he placed 65th overall and hit a super time of 2:27:48.  Great split of 73:41 and 74:07.

On the women's side, former MSU-Billings runner Lisa Minnehan of Billings hit 2:54 - placeing 57th in the women's field.

One of the performances of the day came from someone who isn't really a Montanan - but, she has a strong Montana connection.  So, figured I would give her some props anyway.  Many of you know Kelly Fulton of Billings.  Kelly is married to Elizabeth White (originally of Tacoma).  Elizabeth has a younger sister Caroline.  Caroline runs for the US Air Force.

Well, Caroline ripped it on Monday.  Running splits of 79:12/78:20, she hit a 2:37:32 to place 20th in the women's field.  That time was an auto qualifier for the Oly Marthon Trials in Houstone in January, 2012.  And, it currently has her sitting at position #9 on the US marathon lists.  Pretty damn impressive.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Run To Paradise

Here's a great opportunity to take in a trail race in the Buzzard's neck of the woods.  On Sundary, May 15th, The Eleven Miles To Paradise Trail Race will take place on the beautiful River Trail near and along the Clark Fork River between St. Regis and Paradise, Montana.

This is a great single track trail - rolling trail, lots of timber, a few open meadows, some great views of the Clark Fork River. 

It's a point to point race that will require shuttling.  But, the race organizers (Runner's Edge in Missoula) have an efficient shuttle plan all figured out.

The end of race activities will take place at Quinn's Hot Springs.  Good food, drink and soaking will be available.

Quinn's is also offering a good discount on lodging for folks wanting to stay the night before the event.

Race information can be found at

It's a race worth thinking aobut.

The Muddy Buzzard Buzzard

Continental Divide Running Clinic

So - you want to attend a great clinic on running and running performance?  In a great setting with some amazing trails (including the segment of the Continental Divide Trail used in the Wulfman 14K race)?  With a great camp staff (see more below)?  At a perfect time leading into the late summer and fall racing season?

If you're interested, check out this promotional video for the Continental Divide Running Clinic:

It will be held from the evening of Friday, July 22nd until noon on Sunday, July 24th at the Homestake Lodge outside of Butte.

Camp staff will include Kirk Keller - a competitor and coach in Montana for over 30 years; Jim Walker, PhD -Sports Science Director and former Oly Trials competitor; John Zombro - masters runner and owner of Zombro Physical Therapy; Casey Jermyn - MSU alum, multiple Big Sky Conference champion, owner of Bozeman Running Company; and, Julie Gilchrist - master runner and marathon champion.

It should be a good time and a great opportunity to learn more about improving your running and racing. 

If you are interested, contact Kirk Keller (Keller Coaching) at  (Also visit Coach Keller's website at

One other item of note - the great video was shot by two distance runners from MSU-Billings:  Daniel Lombardi and Ryan Blomback.  After checking out the clinic video, check out some of the other great stuff that they have produced.

The Muddy Buzzard

Good News For The Buzzard

Saw the cardiologist for a follow up visit on Tuesday the 5th.  At my last visit in March, I had an new echo cardiogram done where is it showed that my cardiac function had improved pretty significantly since my initial visits last fall.

With an ejection fraction now measuring somewhere in the 45% - 50% range - that puts me at near normal or mildly compromised.

Now, it does still mean that I'll need to stay on the drug therapy for at least 6 more months to a year (and maybe longer) to see if I can realize even more improvement to my heart function.  Although I'm not getting my hopes up, the doc suggests that I may continue to see improvement; and, there is some chance that I may get back to a normal ejection fraction in the 60% + range.

More importantly was his answer to my question at the end of the visit.  (Paraphrasing a bit, it went something like this):

Muddy Buzzard:  "Well, I would really like to get my mileage back up to normal, start back to some hard training and start competing again.  What do you think about that?"

Cardiologist:  "I want you to be careful and really pay attention to what your body is telling you.  But, with the improvements that we're seeing with the drug therapy..............................go ahead and do what you want."

Now, it got a little awkward when I then shrieked like a Justin Bieber fan, jumped in his arms and gave him a big wet one on the lips.  Funny, but he seemed to leave the exam room pretty quickly....................hmmmmmmm, wonder why.

Actually, we had a bit of a talk about that.  He's okay with me returning to full running and competition.  Again, he does want me to really pay attention to how I react physiologically.  And, the nature of the drugs that I'm taking (especially the beta blocker and the ace inhibitor) may very well may place some limits on my performance (due to the manner in which they tend to reduce blood pressure and heart rate).  But, outside of that, he feels that my test improvements pretty much eliminate any concerns that they had about things like sudden cardiac arrest and such.  As he put it - there's a world of difference between 35% ejection fraction and 45% to 50%.

So, consider the Buzzard to be one happy bird.  (Even did my first hard workout in months with my kids.  8 X 200 uphill repeats.  It hurt ---- in that familiar good hurt kind of way.)  Not sure where it will all lead; but, at least I'm not able to get back to training and pushing myself.  And, removes a bit of a dark cloud that was kind of lurking in the back of my mind as to my overall cardiac health.

Now the grand experiment of pushing the limits of personal endurance can begin again.  Oh Happy Days.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard.