Finding “Flow” (or whatever that means)
In the past I’ve been skeptical of “Flow.” From what I’ve heard it’s a term used more often by mountain bikers, but also something that has been mentioned by fellow mountain-ultra-trail runners. I wondered perhaps if it was something about connecting with the land and dancing down mountains in a Kilian-esque style while managing not to stub your feet on a patch of gnarly rocks? This was a phenomenon that I had yet to experience, as usually it felt like I was awkwardly stumbling down such descents like a Gumby on pogo sticks (or shall I say “Pokey” sticks?) with a timid trepidation. I hadn’t found or felt this magical Flow thing.
Enter Speedgoat 2014:
During a Mountain-Ultra-Trail Race I usually end up with a single word (or single sentence) mantra that reverberates in my head for hours on end: “Just don’t walk” and “Don’t blow a gasket” are common ones. However, about 15 miles into the Speedgoat 50km, while bombing down a road filled with head-sized rocks I just had one word on repeat: “Flow.”
And then I felt It. Suddenly things were coming together in an integrated way that allowed me to dial-in to the clumps of rocks flying at me. I looked down at my HOKA Huakas as they seemingly bulldozed over rocks as I leaned forward into a 5:38 mile split. The wave of fatigue and pain that inevitably starts to hit me just after the first climb and descent in the race had even diminished slightly. So was this The “Flow” that had alluded me for so long, I wondered? I figured it must be! There’s always a first-time for everything…
The rest of the race was a blur of some painful powerhiking (note: Strava.com has the segment up Mt. Baldy around mile 20 as an average grade of 40% for 0.3 of a mile….off trail!), some eating of fruits, some encouraging cheering from the wonderful volunteers, and some very efficient aid-station stops thanks to the support of Sandi, her sister, and my parents.
RD “Speedgoat” Karl put on a great event and the HOKA crew was out in full force as well to greet me at the finish line. Nice! After taking into account that this year’s course was about 1 mile longer (nearly all off-trail stuff too!), had 400’ more climbing, and warmer temps, I’m rating this year’s performance as significantly better than last year’s race. After starting 2014 with many so-so races, I’m feeling good about how my fitness has finally taken a leap forward and things are really starting to pay off. The name of the game is consistent progression….even if it happens in little bits at a time!
What’s up next? Well, I’m making a big push to finish the MUT Runner film project. As far as racing goes, I’ll be competing for Team USA at the Pikes Peak Ascent and then likely be squaring off against Kilian Jornet again at The RUT 50km in Montana for the SkyRunning Ultra World Series Final. High altitude mountain racing is the theme of this summer!
Trailer #2 of MUT Runner (As seen on my YouTube channel):
Thanks for reading and I wish you the best in your training and racing!
PS Here’s video recap of the race (as filmed by my crew):
Gear used/Shameless Sponsor Plugs:
Shoes: HOKA One One Huaka
Socks: Drymax max protection
Calf Sleeves: Compressport Enter code “SAGE14″ for a 10% discount!
Shades: Smith Optics Pivlock V2
Energy: Mostly Vfuel gels during race (Peach flavor)
Nuun tablets in water,
Redbull, Coke (cola), Bananas, Orange slices, Lay’s potato chips
Pre-Race: Flora Health 7 Sources and /or Udo’s Oil everyday!
Hydration Gear: Ultimate Direction handheld and Jurek Essential belt (swapped 2). Filled the pockets with UD gel flasks ful of Vfuel.