Saturday, March 24, 2012


That's right - 21 miles for the week.  3 miles a day for all 7 days this week.  And, with last Saturday included - that's 8 days in a row of running.  First "streak" since last October.

That's right - I've bitch slapped the injury goddess and put her in her place.

Actually - that's not at all true.  I've actually tried to be very smart about recovering from the stress fracture in my 5th Metatarsal.  I was cleared to run beginning February 11th.  That week I ran 2 miles.

My following weeks were 5 miles, 8 miles and 12 miles.

I stared with every 3rd day, then to every other day; and, this week..............every day.  So, that got me to 21 miles.  Next week perhaps 25.  Then in a couple of weeks look to get over 30.

The foot seems to be holding up pretty well.  I've held the pace to a reasonable level and so far have maxed out at 3 miles.  All of my running has been on the soft, steady, consitent surface of the treadmill.

In the interim I did lots of time on the ellliptical and stationary bike.  Plus lots of core & strength work, including plenty of dynamic flexibility and general conditioning.

All in all, I'm cautioulsy optimistic.  Probably another week on the 'mill.  Then next week I'll try a couple of times out on the road.

And, need to start dropping the pace of my efforts from 8:30 pace to sub-8:00 and a bit lower.

Looking forward to being back out on the roads and enjoying the northwest outdoors during the spring.

As a resut, I expec to see you out on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Still Seeing Green

So, being raised in Butte - one week after St. Paddy's day I'd normally still be seeing green as an after-effect of so much green beer from the "holiday" falling on a Saturday.  But, being older and much, much, much wiser - that's not the case any longer.  Rather, I'm still seeing the glorious green results of two consecutive weekends of early season road racing.

The weekend of March 10th brought about the kick off to the 2012 road racing season kicked off with events in Missoula, Anaconda and Polson.  All had big turnouts with almost 700 in Missoula, 600+ in Anaconda and 200+ in Polson. 

In Missoula - a new 7-Miler was added to the Run For The Luck Of It race ticket (in addition to the 5K that had been part of the 2010 and 2011 events); and, that brought out a couple of the Western MT big guns.  Jimmy Grant (the 5K course record holder) cranked out a super fast 36:01 for a 3-minute win over Caleb Deitz.  On the women's side, marathoner Trisha Miller dropped down in distance and showed that she hasn't lost a step since her big win at the PF Chang's Marathon (Phoenix) in January.  Her 42:21 gave her a comfortable 2 minute + win over former UM runner Brooke Andrus.  One of the more impressive performances in the 7-mile was from 51-year old Steve Brown who placed 5th overall and 1st master's at 45:02.

In the 5-K one of Montana's female master's stars took the women's title.  That would be ageless speedster Mary Thane.  With a new master's record and equalling the course record, Mary hit the line at 18:55 for a narrow 6-second win over Darr Tucknott.  On the men's side, Mark Handleman (a newer Missoula resident) got a 30 second win at 16:22.  But, most impressive was Jim Murphy (41) with a 3rd-place overall in an impressive 17:00 - a serious master's effort.

The March Meltdown in Polson had a good turnout (it was quite a nice day in NW Montana) for the Polson Running Club event; but, the race times weren't super fast or super deep (with a couple of exceptions).  Matt Seely (who appears to now have joined the master's age brackets) was the overall 10K winner at 37:13.  Winning the women's race and getting second overall was Jessica Johnson at 39:18.  And,, how about 63 year old Larry Richards hitting 46:14 - 5th overall and 2nd masters.

But, the granddaddy of the first weekend was the AOH (Ancient Order of the Hibernians) St. Patty's race in Anaconda.  Being the oldest race of the weekend (31st Annual), it has a long competitive history.  (The Buzzard can remember racing in the 2nd annual event back in 1983)  This year had a nice mix of "old" faces and new in the winner's columns.  Winning the women's 6-mile was rising star Lisa Minnehan of Billings at 38:44.  That gave her a 2 minute win over 50-year old (and master's champ) Mary Dean of Butte (Mary has been running and racing about as long as The Buzzard and is a great person - I'm so happy to see her still competing strongly after all these years.  [In fact, she ran in that 1983 race with me!!])  The men's 6-mile went to resurgent master's ace Kyle Strode of Helena.  His 32:03 gave him a solid 90 second win over Clint Choquette of Butte, with Rob Walker of Bozeman 3rd overall (and 2nd Master) at 34:12.  It appears as though Kyle's time is the #2 masters performance all time at this event.

On the 3-mile side - confusion reigned at the start.  Due to some problems with transportation logistics (which seems to happen just about every year in Anaconda), the start was just a bit of mayhem.  For a good description, read Ray Hunt's account of the race here -  But, the race did get off and underway and then it was all about race.  And, how about the racing of Nicole Hunt!!!!!  Coming back from delivering twins Roam and Ember last fall, she's back and she's still fast.  How about 17:09 fast - #6 all time and new master's course record.  That gave her a clear 1:00 win over high schooler Olivia Wood of Anaconda.  And, another ageless wonder is Suzie Kaluza who placed 5th overall at 50 in 19:27.  Wow - that's some smoking hot running on the women's side.

For the men - it was fast and it was tight.  Matt Choquette of Butte led the parade with a super speedy 14:54.  He just held off Butte High's Josh Panasuk's 14:55.  And, they were just 16 seconds clear of Adraim Little.  Then came the master's runners - Ray Hunt at 15:40 followed by Pat Judge of Helena in 16:08 followed by 50- year old Marvin Speece (Butte) in 16:37.  I think that the pavement has now cooled enough to be safe for vehicular travel!!!!!

That then brings us to the true St. Patty's weekend (March 17th & 18th).  And the weekend kicked off in grand style with the big and fast 5th Annual Run To The Pub 10K and 1/2-Marathon races in Bozeman.  For the big - how aobut 1,424 finishers (with 1064 in the 10K and 360 in the Half)!!!!  Bozeman knows how to bring in the masses for their local runniing scene.

And the fast - how about 29:45 10K fast.  Yes - you read that right - 29:45.   That was the time for MSU alum, Dillon native and current MSU assistant coach Lyle WeeseRaunig, Rothermel, Brist and Bishop.

Following Lyle was Kyle Strode (as first master) in 32:42.  That's one week removed from his overall win at the AOH 6-mile and show that Strode at 48 still has some serious wheels.  Then Clint Choquette (the AOH 3-mile winner) was in at 33:28.  One notable master's performance was the return of Kirk Keller to racing - and, at 53 he was 7th overall and 2nd master at 37:02. 

On the women's side, Lindsey Hintz of Bozeman was 5th overall with her 35:03 - a sub-36:00 by a women in MT is another rarity.  Again - good to see some young wheels hitting the roads.  Katherine Aune of Missoula was 2nd in 38:50 and Holly Waler of Bozeman was thrid in 39:32.

In the Half Marathon, Chad Wallin of Minot, ND took the win in a respectable 75:20.  He was followed by Ethan Willhelm in 75:41 and in 3rd was Scott Sneddon of Billings in 76:24.  Of note, Sneddon at 49 took the measure of fellow master Scott Creel (Creel 5th overall at 76:59).  Now, the half marathon is outside of Creel's usual race range; but, still - it's unusual to see Creel get beaten by a fellow MT master.

For the women, Hilary Smith ran 86:42 for a 90-second win over Margaret Landberg.  8th overall and 1st master was Nikki Kimball in 93:27.

The Shamrock Run in Billings was held on Sunday the 18th and once again represented the Yellowstone Rim Runners annual membership kickoff event.  As expected, Alan King led the field of 417 runners with his 16:43 5K.  Next in was Zach Hunter at 16:59 and Joel Harris in 17:08.  Ian Blair in 4th was the overall master's winner at 18:25.

For the women, Billings Senior's Dani Aragon took the win in 19:30.  This was good preparation for her final high school track season.  Then, she'll be taking her talents to Notre Dame to join sister Alexa as part of the Fighting Irish track and XC squads.  She was followed by Nicole Lair in 19:42 and Jen Reiter at 20:17.

The Great Falls community had a small (< 100 runners) event on the 17th hosted by the UGF track and XC teams; but, no times seem to available for the event.

What a great couple of weekends.  Now, everybody gets a few weeks to recover before we get into some of the spring racing like the Summit Classic (Kalispell), Ice Breaker (Great Falls) and River Bank Runs (Missoula).

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Big Sky Boys Show Their Nuggets At Chuckanut

Last weekend was the 20th annual Chuckanut 50K in Bellingham, Washington.  And, in 2012 race director Krissy Moehl lined up an unbelievable field - especially for such an early season race.  Some of the biggest stars of American men's ultra/trail racing were in the field and a great race was in the works. 

Included in the field - and, ranked amongst race favorites - were some of our very own Big Sky talent.  Mike Wolfe of Helena, Mike Foote and Chris Kollar of Missoula, and Jason Schlarb of Boulder, CO (but an Montana State alum).

The race was won by Adam Campbell of Canada in 3:48:55 (see a good race report by Adam here: ).  Next in was marathoner (and Hansons-Brooks runner) turned ultra runner Saga Canady in 3:49:28 (31 miles and only 33 seconds separating the first two places).  Then, just another 31 seconds later (3:49:59) came Schalrb.  The first of the Big Sky Boys.

In 4th at 3:51:07 was Chris Kollar (the winner of the 2011 MT Cup) with the Footer (more of a long distance ultra-trail man) in 8th at 3:55:27.  Wolfie had a bit of an off day for him and was 13th in 4:00:53.  Pretty impressive indeed with 4 of our boys in the top 15.

That's some good stuff.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Buzzard Update

So, in mid-Feburary I was cleared to run again - but, with the admonition to "be careful and don't push it".  Well, I've really taken that to heart.

I started out with 5:00 of easy running (10:00 pace) every 3rd day.  And, have been gradually building up from there.  This week, I'll run 4 days - 3 miles at a pop (for a whopping weekly total of 12 miles!!!!).  I've been getting the pace down to sub-7:30; and, things seem to be feeling okay with the foot.  [And, all of the time on the stationary bike and elliptical seem to be paying off.  My cardiovascular seems to be holding up pretty well to the pace and effort.]  I've really been trying to be smart (all of my miles have been on the soft, forgiving surface of the treadmill so far); and, I'm hopeful that this has all paid off.

Next week I'll try running at least 5 days (if not all 7) (all still on the treadmill).  And, the goal is to be able to run with my track kids by the week after (not on track or hard days; but, at least on easy days and for warm ups and cool downs). 

As I transition back into regular running, my good friend Anders Brooker sent me a FloTrack video that took me right back to the scene of the crime.............................

My foot had been hurting off and on over the last couple of weeks of cross country season. But, I kept on pushing through in order to help one of my boys get ready for some post season racing.  It had a been a bit tender before heading to Boise of the Nike Cross Regionals in mid November; but, felt okay on the course preview on Friday.

So, Saturday morning - bright an early, I headed out on a run in the Boise Foothills with Mike Foote, Anders Brooker and Julie Gilchrist.  We were on some great trails, the sun was just coming up, the view of the City was fantastic, the company was great and the foot felt okay as we made some uphill climbs.  Then, it was time for the downhill.  Since I was feeling good, I decided to open up a bit and cruise down the trails.  Big mistake.  About halfway down things got real sore and I was limping pretty badly by the time we hit the finish.  And, that was my last run until mid-February.

In any event, here is a FloTrack video of a group of runners out for a run on the very trail that we were on.  Enjoy the video; and, if and when you are in Boise - trust me - this is a don't miss run.  The foothill trails are impressive -especially considering that they literally take off right from the edge of town.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

The Green Keeps on Comin'

Weekend # 2 of the St. Patrick's festival is coming up.

Races in Bozeman (Run To The Pub), Billings (Shamrock Run) and Great Falls (St. Patty's Dash) this Saturday and Sunday.  These will top off the races in Missoula (Run For The Luck Of It), Anaconda (AOH St. Patricks Day Run) and Polson (March Meltdown) from last weekend.

The Buzzard hopes to do a compilation report on all of the spring kick-off of the 2012 racing season after this weekend's events.

In the meantime - be sure to check out the results of this weekends Chuckanut 50K near Bellingham, WA.  It's a super competitive trail 50K; and, will include the likes of Montana's very own Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote.  [Jason Schlarb is also competing - Schlarb is an MSU Bobcat alum - so, we still like to think of him as one of our own.]

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Off And Running In 2K12

This weekend marks the true beginning of the 2012 racing season in Big Sky Country.  The time around St. Patrick's Day - together with marking the fact that spring is just around the corner - has turned into one of the buiest times of the year on the roads.

This weekend marks one of the classic St. Paddy's Day races, together with a up and coming fresh face.

The classic in question is Anaconda's AOH St. Patrick's Day 3 and 6 mile events.  For 30 some years this race has been super competitive.  And, when the conditions are right, it is also screaming fast.  Over the last few years it has become the primary kick off race for the racer's in Butte and Helena.  So, expect to see some performances from runners like Jesse Zentz, Pat Judge, Kyle Strode, Ray and Nicole Hunt and Michelle Bazanella.

In just it's 3rd year, Missoula's Run For The Luck Of It has already become a high quality event.  Jimmy Grant ran 15:30ish last year; and, there have been some close, competitive women's race in both of the first two editions.  The Missoula/Bitteroot/Ravalli/Seeley crowd loves their running - so, expect to see some big and fast fields.

Not to be forgotten is the smaller; but, still enjoyable March Meltdown in Polson.  This gives the Flathead crowd a great rust-buster without having to travel too far from hom.

Next weekend is St. Paddy's Day proper - and will see several events celebrating the wearin' of the green.  The Yellowstone Rim Runners have used their St. Patricks Day run as their annual club sign up run from 20+ years.  It's also been the place where the runners in the east 1/2 of the state have gotten the season going.  So, expect to see Alan King, Sarah Graves and Lisa Minnehan with their spring debuts.

The fun and festive Run To The Pub will take place in Bozeman the same day.  This is as much recreational as competitive (what with the beer calling your name at the finish line); but, there have been some solid 1/2-marathon performances over the last couple of years.

Great Falls has it's own event - which supports the UGF XC teams.

So, if you are wanting to kick off your race season - you have no excuses.  There races for virtually everyone in the state in the next two weekends - and there is probably one close to where you live.

From the Buzzard's perspective - this weekend sets an early stage for the runners and racers to start tracking for the rest of the year.  I typically expect a few suprises out this weekend; but, a lot of the folks who you see perform well here are many of the same one's that you'll still see by MT Cup in Oct.

Since I've just started running again (coming of a stress fracgture in my right pinky toe) - I won't be up to racing.  But, I will be announcing at the Run For The Luck Of It this Saturday in Missoula.  Hope to see some of you there.

For the rest of you - enjoy the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard