14 March 2009

5th Place Overall -- 2nd Annual Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill Challenge

Image: Less than 10 feet from the finish line below Agassiz Peak! Credit: Neil Weintraub/ NATRA.

Today was a really good day. For a fella who has spent the last 10 days on travel and nine days being beaten up by a rugged canyon, I had an excellent race.

Image: One of my good buddies, David McKee, and I hanging out before the race. Credit: Neil Weintraub/ NATRA.

Kahtoola had extended their uphill course to a 3.2 mile race course starting at Hart Prairie and terminating at the upper chair lift at Agassiz. It was beautiful day. I finished in 50:50, placed fifth place overall, and forth in Men's. I have been racing since 2005 and this was my best race to date! I reckon I can safely say that we do improve with age!

Image: Warrior One pre-race warm up in Kahtoola Microspikes! Credit: Neil Weintraub/ NATRA.

I was strong and I pushed myself the entire race. This uphill climb really stuck it to me a couple of times. I did stop a few times to catch my breath. However, compression breathing, a trick that I learned while climbing volcanoes in the Altiplano, really helped.

I augmented compression breathing by treating the race as somewhat of a meditation. I was focusing on each foot placement, counting "one and one," and I was even chanting mantras during the race. This provided me with much clarity, and perhaps even gave me some inner strength.

I suspect there were additional variables at play here. I've been taking MAP, an amino acid cocktail avaiable through BodyHealth.com. Now, this isn't a shameless plug for a product. I'm not on their payroll and I'm getting nothing for this endorsement. World-renowned fitness guru and Flagstaff's very own Mountain Yogi, Steve Ilg, has been trying to convince me to take this for years. I finally relented, and I've seen huge changes in my performance. It assists me in quicker recoveries after both workouts and races. Also, Ilg has indicated that my yoga practice has improved considerably. I've been a stout practitioner of HP Yoga for over four years now. So, I suspect it is a combination of these two variables that likely led to my excellent performance in this race.

I also wonder because I climbed a 19,000 ft volcano in Chile back in November, if the San Francisco Peaks seem a little bit smaller to me now. Unlike my ascent of Volcan Aguas Calientes, I was actually able to climb and breath!

For all the race photos from this event, go to NATRA's Picasa site-Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill Challenge.

Image: Race start! I'm standing right behind the winner of this event, Eric Bohn (aka Greenbean). Credit: Neil Weintraub/ NATRA.

Congratulations to today's winners of this event -- Eric Bohn (41:38) and Sara Wagner (49:10)! For complete results of this race, go to Kahtoola in the News.

Special thanks to NATRA. Not only did they do a great job with doing time for the race, they are a beautiful group of people. I've always cherished my time running with this group. I look forward to more runs and more trails with the group!

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