Friday, September 7, 2012

Steamboat Run Rabbit Run 100

I've been behind on the blog lately, with piles of pictures and video (which is very tedious to edit) from various summer mountain adventures that I've been meaning to share, so hopefully I can catch up on some of that soon.

I'll have more time for that during my taper, as I'm signed up for the Inaugural Run Rabbit Run 100 in Steamboat next weekend.

I'm definitely looking forward to it. Mostly, I'm excited to take a pretty chill approach to this race. Here are the things I'm most excited about, which I've placed in a bulleted list following this colon:
  • Beautiful course with varied terrain. Course loops through town multiple times, so family/friends/crew can see runners and help out with less stress, and then go about their day by having fun for hours at a time rather than stressful driving all over the place.
  • New course == no previous time expectations. I'm going to wing it and have fun and see what happens, no splits to worry about
  • Autumn colours: Could be close to peak with early changes this year. I am a fall foliage fanatic. Changing aspens under blue skies are my absolute favourite conditions, and I get out as much as possible into the trees for hiking, running, and biking during these times. J and I have made annual trips to some of the best spots across the state, yet I'm always looking for new ones. And now I can run all day (with occasional food and water stops) in these conditions? Heaven!
  • Great race director: Fred and crew know what they're doing, and although I haven't experienced their races yet, I've heard good things and enjoyed chatting with him
  • Fringes: Pizza and beer, especially with latter sponsorship including Mahogany Grill and Pateros Creek. The day the Pateros Creek guys told me they were on board was the day I was fully committed to running as well.
And on a more personal level, I'm happy to have my family in Colorado join us for crew and spectating. I'll enjoy having my in-laws cheer me on, but I'll also be able to see not only my lovely wife along the way, but also my beautiful baby niece! How cool will it be to see them when the miles start piling up?
Not only that, but my Dream Team Crew from Western States, Alex and Nora (along with Nora's sister Jill) will be helping out. I owe them as much positive energy and smiles as they give me...and for that, I know I'm ready!

Tortoise and Hare
This race is also a unique, new format in which the racing competition is split into distinct groups of "Tortoise" and "Hare." The Hare group is going to be exciting because there is big prize money on the line, with $40k being distributed amongst winners. The Hare group start time is separate, being 5 hours later. I was skeptical of this, but the idea is that people finish more closely together and it can engender a larger party atmosphere, along with the chance for back-of-the-pack runners to "see" the race up front develop later in the day. Upon reflection, I appreciate this aspect, for although many of the race leaders are great about cheering on later runners, they can only do it for so long. Logistically, it makes sense to compress the amount of time you have post-race activities.

Another distinction between the groups is that Hares cannot have pacers. I do not care for the highly-opinionated rhetoric of those that call pacing "cheaters" and my opinion is that pacing in fact historically has added to the race atmosphere and enjoyment for many, and I've really enjoyed pacing others. I respect those that enjoy having a pacer, and those that want to do it alone for any reason, but mostly I respect the ability to have a choice. So I do think this difference here is arbitrary, as I have also seen that the "elite" runners have had quite a fun time with their pacers as well (and some good stories come out of it).
I also think Hares should get a buckle, and that's my only other contention about the difference between the two.

Giving my honest thoughts on the subject, I'm kind of in a weird spot in between the 2 groups.
I've yet to nail a mountain 100 -- finishing 7-9 hours behind the winners! -- so I hope to run a more even race closer to my potential, and it'll be a fun challenge not to get passed by any Hares.
Mostly, since I do want to run with my buddy Alex, I leaned immediately toward the Tortoise group. Along with that, I like the early start, and I like the fact that over 100 folks have signed up for that wave in an inaugural race. I'm hoping there's a good contingent of folks ahead and around me during most of the race so we can figure this thing out together. I struggled a bit with the idea of finishing in an artificially higher "placing" in the Tortoise group than the Hare, but this isn't about vanity of finishing in a higher place as it is about appropriate competition. In terms of motivation and results, I think the people I'll be running with on a perfect day will push each other to a faster finish than if we were racing for ~30th place in the Hares -- just like Tim Olson's race didn't exactly push me any faster at Western States, but power-hiking up Robie Point with strangers did.
So that's my thought process on that.

This looks like it'll be a fun experiment in many ways, so cheers to a successful Inaugural RRR100!


  1. Have a blast out there! This sounds like it is shaping up to be a ultra and CO classic. Can't wait to read your post race report.

  2. I'm looking forward to the weekend Mike. I hope you are recovering well from Saturday's fall as I would love the oppportunity to run with you over the final miles of your race on Friday night. No matter what happens, it will be a great weekend in the mountains.