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2009 Transrockies Run

August 15, 2009
Once a year, I pick a race to support a worthy cause.  This year, I am dedicating the Transrockies Run to raise money for the National MS Society in honor of my sister Julie Buckbee in Port Huron, Michigan who suffers from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.  She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments. I created an online Tributes Fund and encourage anyone to visit my web page. You can sign my guest book, learn about the courageous people facing this devastating disease and contribute to the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

So far I have raised almost $3000 but I’m well short of my $10,000 goal.  Please support the National MS Society by pledging. Your donations will help empower people with MS to live independently, enhance their health and improve their knowledge.  The National MS Society is dedicated to ending the devastating effects of MS. They simultaneously fund research for a cure while also helping people who currently live with Multiple Sclerosis lead more fulfilling lives. I believe in the work they do, and I invite you to see for yourself all the good they’ve done for the MS community.

Thanks for your support!

Official song of the GORE-TEX™ TransRockies Run
Keep On Running

June 27, 2009
Training Run at Yosemite
Take a couple of flatlanders, drive to Yosemite early Sat. morning, start running at 4,000 ft. and go to 8,000 ft.  This training run was a good reality check for running at altitude.  I didn’t feel well at altitude and Kevin struggled a bit at 8,000 ft. as well.  Took us almost 5.5 hours to run a 16-mile loop.  But the location is nothing short of spectacular.

chilnualna fallsWe started near Wawona at the south entrance to the park.  The key landmark would be 690-ft. Chilnualna Falls, a lesser known waterfall at Yosemite, mainly because it’s a series of five cascades and hides behind twists and turns in the rock.  It can’t be seen from a road and it’s impossible to see the entire fall at the same time.C'mere + C'mon Chilnualna Falls June 2009

It was a very tough day at the office as the temps soared into the 90s, but a good reminder of what we face at the Tahoe Rim 50K next month and a gut check on Transrockies.  Numerous times during the run we remarked, “We are so f’ed for Transrockies” but took some strange solace in the fact that there were a whole bunch of people suffering the same conditions at Western States on this day.

June 21, 2009 (Happy Father’s Day!)
New Gear for Transrockies!
I’m having a blast buying new gear that, well, I simply must have for TRR.  I’ll be writing gear reviews for this stuff as I start using it.

wasp_back07The most important item might be the hydration pack.  Get this part wrong and you’ll have a lousy week in the Rockies.  I chose the Wasp from Ultimate Direction.  It has the extra storage capacity for all the mandatory gear, medical kit, blanket, camera, nutrition, even the trekking poles if I decide to carry them.  The Nathan HPL 020 I use for normal trail running just isn’t enough.

Leki polesI’ve never used trekking poles, so I sent a note to famed ultra runner “Speedgoat” Karl Meltzer for advice.  He recommended the Wasp hydration pack but suggested poles are just extra baggage for TRR.  His running buddies Erik Skaggs (who won the inaugural TRR with his brother Kyle) and Team USA Cross Country star Max King tell Karl it’s mostly “runnable terrain.”  OK, except that “runnable” to the rest of us mere mortals might not be the same thing.  So I bought the Summit Antishock poles from Leki, the official trekking pole company for TRR.  I’ll take the poles and decide when I get there if I’m going to take them with me.  Kevin and I are guessing we might only need them on one or two days.

Olympus Stylus Tough 6000I did more research on a camera than any other item, simply because there is an endless array of options.  I settled on the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000.  This camera is made for the outdoors.  Encased in a durable metal body, it’s a bit heavy but it’s shock proof, water proof, freeze proof, and features dual image stabilization for taking photos on the move.  I’m hoping it’s also idiot proof and can’t wait to see what I can capture of the spectacular scenery we will encounter.

vasque celeratorI’ve been wearing Vasque trail shoes for several years but had worn through two pair of the AMP model which was discontinued last year.  So I chose the Celerator, a much narrower shoe.  I’ve already put a bunch of miles on them, but I also ordered a new pair of custom orthotics just for my trail shoes, which I order a half size larger than my road running shoes.

Sleeping padKevin and I decided to upgrade to the comfort of cabins on a few nights, but for those nights in a tent, I ordered the Goassmer NightLight™ sleeping pad.  I rolled it out onto the tile in my office and couldn’t believe how comfortable it felt.  I should be able to sleep like a rock.  My only concern is space in the duffel bag.  If things start to look crowded, I may need to ditch this item.

bamboo running sleevesI’ve only worn arm sleeves when I’m on the bike, but with the big temperature swings in the Rockies, I decided to get some running sleeves from Moeben.  And I went eco-friendly and ordered bamboo, which has natural UV, a wicking and anti microbial features.

May 25, 2009
Team Name–C’mere & C’mon
After an endless debate over countless choices and understanding from the beginning that it really isn’t important, we have a name: C’mere & C’mon.  Kevin is C’mere…”C’mere, wait for me!”  I am C’mon…”C’mon, get the lead out!”  We’re looking forward to meeting everyone and finding out who is behind some of the team names.  I’m also interested in meeting the three runners from Japan.  I’m born and raised in Tokyo and have a ton of questions about how they train and race in Japan.

Naturally, our training has not gone quite like we thought it would when we first starting thinking about this event.  What started as a plan to run three 50Ks has been reduced to two, maybe even one for me.  Kevin and I just started training together since I spent most of the winter and spring months tri training while Kevin was focused primarily on Boston.  Our main concern is not training, but avoiding injury.  We’re both having issues with our right knee.  I have set 7 PRs this year so I’m feeling very good about my conditioning and racing, but it’s time to get serious about running long.

Jan. 8, 2009
The Teamvineman-20082

My running partner is Dr. Kevin Stuart, a leading gastroenterologist in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He lives with his wife (also a physician) and two children in San Martin, CA.  He has completed the California Ironman, the multi stage Race Across California, numerous marathons and ultramarathons, and 50 triathlons.  We have done many events together, including The Relay, Way Too Cool 50K and AR50, but this will be our first time as a team.  I only hope I am not the boat anchor as I’m about 70 pounds heavier than Kevin.  My wife takes some comfort in knowing I am scaling the Rockies with a doctor, although I’m not sure he can do anything for me when I’m gasping for air at 12,000 ft.

Jan. 1, 2009
Training Program
We’ve read many of the blogs and recommended training programs for this event.  We’re prepared to try anything, including me jogging in a sauna for heat training.   Kevin is a better runner than me so I’m prepared to train harder than Kevin.  I’m doing the Napa Marathon as a training run for my first ultra this year in April.  Kevin earned his spot at Boston by running an impressive 3:22 at CIM a year ago, so he’ll be running Boston in April while I’ll do Skyline to Sea.

I’ll do three ultras before the Transrockies and we’ll do two of them together; both are run near 8,000 ft. and within a 3 – 4 hr. drive from where we live.  The timing seems pretty good so we’re hoping the two ultras at elevation is sufficient training for altitude.  Here are some of the events we chose specifically to train for Transrockies:

02/07 :: PCT Woodside 33K Lynn & Kevin
03/01 :: Napa Valley Marathon Lynn
04/20 :: Boston Marathon Kevin
06/30 :: Ohlone 50K Kevin
07/18 :: Tahoe Rim Trail 50K Lynn & Kevin
08/02 :: Skyline 50K Lynn

Nov. 21, 2008
We’re In!

Last week, my training partner Kevin and I signed up for the 2009 Transrockies Run – 125 miles over 6 days in the Colorado Rockies. What were we thinking?

At this month’s meeting of our running club, Kevin asked if anyone else was interested in running across the Rocky Mountains next summer. I wasn’t there, but I imagined most people didn’t quite understand what he was proposing, and our club treasurer simply replied, “what the hell?!”

transrockies3When I considered this event many months ago, I felt a bit out of my league. Any athletic endeavor spanning six days and rewarded with $20,000 in prize money should be restricted to well-trained athletes who don’t have real jobs. I pictured myself lining up at the start line with other adventure racers, fast packers and ultra marathoners, all entering the event not just to complete it, but to race and win. I could imagine the looks as they sized me up and wondered, “what the hell is he doing here?”

Then I made the mistake of checking out the web site. Suddenly, the event seemed manageable, and enticing. Fully catered meals, massage service, and a staff who tears down and sets up camp for you each day. I checked out the elevation maps for each day. It is designed carefully to let you acclimate to running long distances…with very litte oxygen. I fear we have woefully underestimated the hardship of actually running at an elevation of 8,000 – 13,000 feet.

transrockiesBut there comes a point when deciding on any event where you just know if you’re going to do it. For me, it is not normally a series of logical choices that lead to the decision. I often back into it by removing the impediments. Float it out to my wife a couple times very innocuously to test the waters. Make sure I can do it with my work schedule. Fill the race schedule with other events that lead up to the main event. Make the decision, figure out later how to train for it. I always ask myself, “if you don’t do it, will you wish you did?” Consider the people you will meet, the scenery you will take in, the experience you will always remember.

Today, I flew over the Rocky Mountains on a flight from Chicago. Talk about delusional. From 39,000 feet, anything seems possible. So, what were we thinking when we signed up? An epic adventure.


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