Grindstone 100 preview

It’s t-minus 1 day until go-time for my first ever 100-miler, the Grindstone 100. I’ve been scrambling to get things prepared, and as of last night at 11pm I think I have everything packed and ready to go. I’ll be ducking out of work early today and heading down to the race start to set up camp, then hopefully sleeping as much as I can before the 1pm pre-race briefing. After the pre-race briefing my crew will start arriving, I’ll hand off my bags, and at 6:00pm EST the show starts.

“Beginning at Camp Shenandoah, this out-n-back course ascends and descends Little North Mtn before climbing over 2400ft in 4 miles to the summit of Elliot Knob. The course then proceeds north following the ridgeline of Great North Mtn crossing over to and following the Wild Oak National Recreation Trail before continuing north to the summit of Reddish Knob. Runners continue north to Briery Branch Gap before retracing their steps (without summiting Elliott & Reddish) back along the course to Camp Shenandoah.”

Aside from MMT, Grindstone is dubbed “the hardest 100-miler east of the 100th Meridian.” It’s 100.73 miles and 23,200 feet of net elevation gain and pure mountain-climbing, quad-busting fun. Actually, using the pace sheet given out by Clark (the Race Director), adding up distances between aid stations totals 101.85 miles. I would guess that these discrepancies are due to remeasuring and the fact that the course has been extended roughly 1.4 miles at the turnaround, adding extra mileage and extra climbing. Hoorah!

Am I prepared? I sure as hell hope so. I’ve been seeded with lucky bib #7, so if that isn’t motivation to kick some ass, I don’t know what is. Training went very well, as shown with a strong run at Where’s Waldo 100k and a quick recovery thereafter, and now that temperatures have cooled down a bit with the arrival of fall, running feels much much easier.

Here is a rough plan of my gear and nutrition for the race:
– Nathan HPL 020 pack with Camelbak bladder for carrying water
– Ultimate Direction handheld bottle filled with Hammer Perpetuem (cafe latte flavor) for calories
– S-caps every hour or 2 to balance electrolytes
– Brooks Cascadia 4 shoes with blue Superfeet insoles
– Drymax socks (these will be a blessing for when the rain comes)
– GoLite packable windbreaker for rain protection
– Moeben sleeves in case it gets chilly at night
– Brooks Element shorts
– Brooks running hat
– Tifosi sunglasses
– Garmin Forerunner 310XT (19.5hr battery) and 305 (14hr battery) for heart-rate, time and mileage
– Petzl MyoXP headlamp and Fenix L2D flashlight
– and of course, my blue VHTRC shirt. gotta represent!

As for race goals, it’s my first 100 miler so priority #1 is just to finish. Aside from that, I’m shooting to run somewhere in the 26 hour range. I’ve been seeded as bib #7, and last year runner #7 ran a 23:11… yeah I don’t know about that one! But honestly, it’s a honor to be seeded at such a high placement and I don’t expect to finish that far up front. Then again, I tend to have pretty conservative estimates on my race times, so you never know what might happen. Just need to make sure there’s fuel left in the tank for Masochist and Hellgate so I can finish up the Beast Series!

Welp, here goes nothing…


New sponsor – Brooks Running!

I’d like to give a big shout-out to my new apparel sponsor for 2009 – Brooks Running! On a whim I recently applied to the Brooks Inspire Daily (ID) Team since I know a few friends who are on it. I wasn’t expecting to hear back since I’m still new to this whole “running thing”, but lo-and-behold I was wrong and I am now a proud ID Team member!

Now this is no “Scott Jurek level” sponsorship… I’m definitely not that good! But I still get a pretty sweet discount on gear while representing a brand whose running shoes and apparel I have been wearing my entire (albeit short) ultrarunning career.

I have been wearing the Brooks Cascadia 3 trail running shoes (and the 2’s before the 3’s came out) since my very first trail run. I shopped around at different running stores trying on everything I could find. Having a wider foot that gets cramped easily, I found that Brooks’ roomy Cascadias were a perfect match for my specific needs. The 3’s were a significant improvement to the 2’s, offering much better water drainage, lighter weight and enhanced breathability. Being the gear junkie that I am, I continue to try on new shoes at every chance I get, but still nothing compares to my trusty Cascadias and I don’t see myself switching anytime soon, even for the brutal terrain of MMT. I haven’t gotten my hands on the new Cascadia 4‘s yet, but don’t you worry I’ll have my hands (err… feet) on them soon.

Cascadia 4’s. Don’t they just look fast?

Aside from the shoes, two of my other apparel staples are the Infiniti shorts and the Vapor Dry 3D 1/2 Zip Jacket (which has unfortunately been discontinued).

Thanks again to Brooks for having faith in an up-and-coming newbie like myself and for making simple yet amazing trail running shoes!