It’s been a long school year.  An amazing year with lots of great experiences but I was definitely ready for summer to begin.  A long-standing joke in education is that the three best reasons to teach are June, July, and August.  There is no better way to kick off a couple months of fun than the S.M.U.T. races in Pocatello.  Due to a busy spring and lack of long runs, I decided that the 35k would be better for me and the thought of running up valve house and over Scout Mountain without having 30-40 miles on my legs sounded really nice.  Due to a lightning storm cancelling the faculty end of year golf scramble I was able to get to the race start early.  It was good to catch up with friends and re-immerse myself in the scene.  I had a great dinner with Luke, Lori, and Chris before hitting the sack.  I woke up at 4 to help with 100k check in.  After they took off into the predawn darkness it was amazing to go back to bed and sleep for a while.  I didn’t wake up until about 8, I ate breakfast, read, and tried to get my mind around racing hard for the first time in quite a while.  Finally the 11 a.m. race start came and before I knew it we were headed up the valve house trail toward the Scout Mountain Aid station.  The pace went out hotter than I was comfortable with early so I decided to crank my music, focus on fueling, and staying strong and controlled up the hills.  We started to catch a few of the top 50k guys and I tried to monitor my effort and keeping the leaders in site.  About a mile before the aid station I caught sight of the second place runner power walking the climbs so I locked in on him.  After refilling my bottle with EFS-pro at the aid station I continued to power up and finally caught the second place runner.  He appeared to be a little spent from the early climbing so I passed and set out after the leader.  Pat Bragassa has been running well for many, many years.  I knew I’d have to run well to catch him.  He has been a solid presence on the marathon scene for a long time.  When I caught the 50k leaders I asked them how much time “the guy in the yellow singlet” had on me.  They told me 5 minutes.  I wanted to close the gap as much as possible hoping to catch him on the downhill.  A few minutes later I asked a hiker how much time he had on me-he told me 40 seconds. This gave me a little adrenaline spike and I caught Pat pretty quickly.  He was power hiking and after a short conversation he said his back was out and killing him.  I was sad to hear that he ended up dropping.  I was now in the lead and running scared.  The switchbacks up Scout Mountain are wide open and I could see another runner closing.  I pressed as hard as I dared but to the top, looking forward to the downhill to the Big Fir Aid Station.  After a steep, rocky pitch off the top the single track is buttery and fast.  I sped downhill, trying to stay on top of fueling and hydration.  It was starting to get hot.  As I blew into the aid station I overheard a little kid tell his mom- “Wow-look that guy is fast”  that made my day.  One more refill of EFS-pro and a shot of RedBull (thanks Karl!) I charged to the finish.  I really enjoy the new trail section of this course, the extra time in the nordic center-well, not so much.  I kept drinking, running, and a few times power hiking up and over the top.  I was excited to get to the top and cruise the last 2 miles back to the finish.  My original goal was to be as close as possible to 3 hours.  My early-season fitness allowed me to finish in 3:15 and change.  I was spent, but pleased and lets face it-wins come few and far between.  Most importantly I hadn’t gone too deep to the well and was back to training on Monday.  Many adventures to be had this summer!  Thanks to Andi, Jenna, Kayli, and Noah for supporting me with my running.  Also my sponsors Patagonia, Altra, First Endurance, Ultraspire, and Black Diamond Equipment.




Fuel:  EFS Liquid Shot/EFS-Pro (Cucumber Water)

Gear: Patagonia Cap 1 sleeveles, Patagonia Strider-Pro Shorts, Ultaspire Iso Versa

Shoes: Altra One 2.5 (with superior rockplate)- Perfect for dry trails!

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