Monday, June 20, 2011

Geoff Roes Video

Joel Wolpert has produced another video clip on a top ultrarunner--this time Geoff Roes--that does a fantastic job of portraying the subject and the surroundings in a vivid, authentic manner.  Joel worked with me for a couple days last November--so I can vouch for his laid-back and unassuming demeanor--but with really no more than a steadi-cam and a tripod he's showing that it's possible to create compelling and insightful trail running media without helicopters and tens of thousands of dollars.  I don't know about you, but I find this video inspiring:

Knee Update
My visits with the doctor last week went relatively well--or as well as could be expected, given the circumstances--and I won't be needing any kind of surgery on my crippled right knee.  The CT scan came back negative for any kind of tibial plateau fracture--huge relief there--and the MRI showed no significant damage to any of the crucial stablizing ligaments in the knee (ACL, PCL, medial/lateral collateral ligaments).  I did however, bruise my meniscus and bone bruise the head of the femur in addition to tearing my soleus, the knee capsule, and a more minor ligament in the back of my knee.  But, with the broken fibula requiring ~8 weeks of inactivity anyways, these things should end up healing just fine on their own at the same time.  I'd like to thank everyone for all the concerned/sympathetic phone calls, emails, and blog comments I've gotten since I hurt myself. And also for the countless baked goods, visits and car rides. You know who you are. I'm fortunate to have such a support group and I don't underestimate the effect that has in helping the healing process.

In the meantime, I'm trying not to get too frustrated with my crutches, and I'm looking forward to being able to ease back into running about the same time as Geoff moves back to the Boulder area at the end of the summer.  Although I'm obviously super bummed we won't be running the Western States Trail together again next weekend, I definitely look forward to sharing some more miles with him this fall.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bit Of A Break

First: here is an interview I gave late last week.


On my run Saturday morning I'd just descended Green Mountain and was about to leave the Chautauqua meadows dirt for the mile-long paved jog back to my apartment when--on an embarrassingly benign stretch of smooth trail--I caught my left toe on something and instead of just faceplanting (and merely scraping/bruising my forearms) like I usually do, my right leg came through to catch my fall, which would've been fine except that my right knee then hyperextended violently with an audible crack and I fell to the ground. As this happened I had a few involuntary screams owing to the fact that I'd just ripped my hamstring and IT band off the fibular head, along with a sizeable chunk of bone. Of course, I wouldn't really know that until later after I got x-rays and whatnot, which apparently also show some potential damage to the tibial plateau.

(Misplaced hunk of bone floating around there above the fibular head.)
With many thanks to a lot of friends--most notably Jeremy Rodgers for calmly and efficiently dealing with my desperate phone calls and emails on a weekend--I'll be seeing an orthopedist here in Boulder later this week to determine the full extent of the damage (via a CT scan) and to see what it's going to take to get this puppy healed and back to strength.  Preliminary prognosis (given no ACL damage, which is possible) is 6-8 weeks on crutches and then another 4+ weeks on top of that before I can start thinking about taking a running step.

It's still kinda hard for me to grasp the fact that I'm going to miss the entire summer of spectacular weather, but it's not really worth worrying about facts that are now out of my control and I definitely realize that, unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there with even more debilitating and serious concerns than a blown-up knee.  Doesn't mean it doesn't still suck, though.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Western States 100 Film Trailer

Geoff (on the ground) and me on the Western States 100 finish line, 2010. Photo: Jenny Uehisa.
Last year's Western States 100 ended up being a bit of a paradigm shift for the top levels of mountain ultra racing.  Western States was the first official 100 mile foot race and continues to be the ultramarathon race with the richest history, deepest competitive fields, and highest media profile of any in North America, so when many of the top runners held on to finish strong (100 miles is such a long ways with so much time for so many different things to go wrong that it is rare for so many contenders to make it to the finish relatively hitch-free) and compete very closely all the way to the finish--with two of us substantially under the previous course record--it was arguably a milestone race in the history of the sport.  While others will surely one day run Western States much faster than Geoff and I did in 2010 (that will probably even happen this year!), last year's event was one where it seems the 100 mile distance transitioned into truly becoming a race and not just an en masse jogging/hiking/survival contest.

I'm aware that all of that might sound nauseatingly self-serving, considering I was one of the prominent actors at the front of last year's race, but as a semi-obsessed fan of mountain racing--both contemporary and historically--I am highly aware that:

A) people raced really hard back in the earlier days of the sport as well, and
B) there have been plenty of other defining moments in the recent history of ultra distance mountain racing (Matt's 2005 Leadville, Kyle's 2008 Hardrock, Kilian's 2008 UTMB and Geoff's 2009 Wasatch, just to name a few, all stand out in my mind).

However, what made WS 2010 a little different was that, while all of those performances were notable for their singularity and sheer domination over history and the competition, at WS last year there was true head-to-head racing right up until the very end, in addition to a shattering of previous-fastest times.

Luckily for fans of the sport everywhere, ultrarunner and filmmaker JB Benna had the ambition, vision, enthusiasm and know-how to scrape together the resources and actually document the race last year through incisive pre- and post-race interviews with the top contenders and exclusive inside-the-lead-pack race footage.  Fun stuff if you're a geek like me.  The film's website is here.

And if you haven't yet seen this elsewhere, here is the excellent trailer:

As great as last year's race was, this year's event--in a little more then three weeks--is shaping up to be every bit as exciting, and probably even more so.

The high country snow is even deeper and more lingering than last year.

Two-time winner Hal Koerner is back healthy (he was injured last year, and had to depart the race at 80 miles) and racing better than ever.

Geoff and Kilian are returning for a reprisal of last year's battle.

There is maybe even more top-level depth with the likes of last year's 4th place break-out performer Nick Clark clearly in the best shape of his life, veteran Dave Mackey lacing together an undefeated season at top races on the circuit, WS rookie Mike Wolfe running well, foreigners Jez Bragg and Tsuyoshi Kaburaki back after podium finishes in 2009, and a whole slew of other notables that will pounce if any of these guys falter.

Sadly, I am probably the only podium-threat who won't be back at the race this year, my running continuing to be drastically hampered by tibial tendonitis ever since the Rocky Raccoon 100 way back in February.  But I'll definitely be scouring the internet all day on June 25th hanging on every update just as every other fan who can't make it out to California should be.