Saturday, January 12, 2013

Custom Blog Header!

I logged onto my Facebook yesterday to find that John Storkamp had updated Rocksteady Running's Spring Superior 25k/50k race page with new content, including a FANTASTIC custom image of yours truly gracing one of the headers!

Jennifer Pierce snapped this picture at 2012's Spring Superior 50k heading into Oberg on the way back to Caribou Highlands. I remember saying hello to her as I ran by. Her husband, Zach Pierce, is usually behind the lens, but he was running that day, and Jen is quite the photographer in her own right. 

Incidentally, 2013 Spring Superior opens on January 15th. Remember to register early! The race is a fantastic one, and it will fill up fast. The Superior Hiking Trail is gorgeous, and the race brings you from Caribou Highlands in Lutsen south on the trail to the top of Carlton Peak before turning around and heading back. 

What most amazed me, though, was how much John took Jen's picture and ran with it. He's quite the graphic artist, and does quite a bit of design work in addition to his second-to-none race directing in the fairer months (Zumbro, Spring Superior, Afton, Fall Superior, etc.) and his own racing, including pulling sleds for hundreds of miles in the winter (3-time Arrowhead 135 winner, 2013 Tuscobia 150 winner, also running 2013 Arrowhead on January 28th and the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational on February 24, 2013) as well as running every other race distance known to man in the fairer months (see his UltraSignup/Athlinks).

Check out Jen's original pic here:

And John's voodoo magic here:

I'm still blown away at how great this picture is, and not just because the runner in the picture is so darn good looking. Many thanks, John! Plus, it's always neat to see yourself on one of your favorite race websites, too. For me, this is just neat all-around!

Oh, last bit of news! I just ran a half-marathon PR today, and got to meet Frank Shorter at the Disney Marathon Expo on Thursday! More on those later. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lottery Luck

I have no lottery luck.

This may sound like I'm whining, but at this point, I'm actually kind of amused. You'd think that there wouldn't be so many other "crazies" out there that this would be a problem, but let me tell you a little about what I have to go through to run in the events of my choosing in this "sport" of mine.

For 2012, I registered for two lotteries: Western States and Hardrock. My odds for getting into each were low, I don't recall the exact numbers, but less than 5% per (probably much less). Being the hopeful optimist, though, I imagined the nightmare of getting into both races, and how delightfully fantastic that would be. When the lottery days came and went, I felt deflated. It wasn't as though I actually thought I was going to get in, I knew the odds, but I hoped, and I lost.

Thus far, for 2013, I've registered for 5 lotteries: HURT, Western States, Hardrock, the Barkley, and UTMB. In short, so far, I've missed HURT, Western States, Hardrock, and the Barkley. The UTMB selection looms.

According to, there are 110 100-mile races in North America. has ranked a majority of these races from easiest to hardest, each having a percentage with respect to Western States, which is arbitrarily set at 100%.

According to RealEndurance, the "easiest" 100-mile races in the states, in order, are:

82% Keys 100, Key West, Florida
82% Heartland 100, Cassoday, Kansas
82% Umstead 100*, Raleigh, North Carolina
82% Iron Horse 100, St. Paul, Alabama
82% Boulder 100, Boulder, Colorado
83% Lean Horse 100**, Hot Springs, South Dakota
83% Rocky Raccoon 100***, Huntsville, Texas
87% Vermont 100, West Windsor, Vermont

*Wesley Rolnick, you're on notice.
**Made sure to get this far down just to make Jordan Hanlon's 2013 Race Schedule look "light."
***Misty Schmidt is a rockstar Sawtooth finisher now, so I can't give her crap.

In contrast, the 3 "hardest" 100-mile races are:

270% Barkley Marathons, Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee
"Meaningless Suffering Without A Point. The entry procedure is secret. There is no official website. This is not the official website. It is not listed on any calendar. You have to email the race director on a certain day of the year. The race will fill up on that day." RealEndurance 
159% Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, Silverton, Colorado
"The Hardrock 100 connects or passes near the old mining towns of Silverton, Lake City, Ouray, Telluride and Ophir. With a total elevation gain of approximately 33,000 ft and an average elevation at near tree line of 11,186 ft, the Hardrock 100 peaks out at over 14,000 ft on Handles Peak, one of Colorado├»¿½s 14ers." RealEndurance 
128% HURT 100, Honolulu, Hawaii
"A very tough, multiple lap (5) course on muddy, rooted and rocky single-track trails in a mountainous rainforest. Nearly 25,000 feet of ascent and descent." RealEndurance
A little lower on the list is:

111% Superior Sawtooth 100, Lutsen, Minnesota

UTMB isn't ranked on RealEndurance, though I imagine it'd compare to Hardrock.

So, for the record, my five lottery entries this year include Western States, the grandaddy of them all--the race that every other race is judged against, and then 4 of the most difficult 100-mile races around. Fun stuff, eh?

Now, my lottery luck.