Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Scout Mountain Ultra Trail Race Report

This marks the 7th year I have travelled out to Pocatello in early June, meaning I've been at this race in some capacity since it's instantiation in 2009, whether running, volunteering, or supporting.  That alone makes me feel fairly old at the moment but I suppose is a testament to the quality of this event, now run by Luke Nelson and a solid band of volunteers from the Pocatello area.    

This one is worth checking out guys: the course, a rugged 100k circuit through the Bannock and Pocatello mountain ranges (60k and 30k options as well), is bar-none for beautiful, runnable single-track.  The entire first leg and the descent off of Scout Mountain in the latter third of the race showcase the kind of terrain best referred to as running porn: buttery single-track turns in pine forest, lush meandering ridges, spring wildflowers, soft and tacky trail.  It is an ecstatic sensory experience.  It is also easy to get carried away given the sheer amount of runnable terrain, as my hamstrings will attest to today.

I ran 10:26:26 (unofficially) for 1st place in the 100k, about 2 minutes faster than last year.  The experience was vastly different however.  Last year I went in with limited fitness, only a couple runs longer than 2 hours, and basically destroyed myself to run 10:28 for 2nd place (  This year, with Hardrock on the calendar in a little over a month, my first goal was to not kill myself and run controlled so as to get in a good long effort without disrupting training too much, which I succeeded in doing, I think.  Despite a rocky last 6 weeks with a calf strain and then a resprain of my bad ankle my fitness was much better going into the run this year.  I ran the first leg at what felt like a very easy pace, keeping my heart rate in the 140s, and rolled through the first 2 legs a couple minutes slower than last year feeling very relaxed.  Without a lot of action at the front of the race there wasn't a lot of incentive to push hard for the last sections of the race which made for a very calm and pleasurable run on the whole.   Nonetheless, running 63+ miles will take its toll and I felt appropriately walloped upon finishing.     

Of course, the biggest news of the day was that for the first time in my relatively short tenure as a so-called ultrarunner I broke down and employed the dandy-cowboy, cliched ultra-running technique of tying a wet/ice-filled bandana around my neck.  This, along with my self-designed Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Treat (CPTTM) jersey, exceptionally short shorts, bleeding nipples, and an ankle brace ensured the very pinnacle of ultra running haute couture.   As seems to be the case for cliches in general, this turned out to work quite well practically speaking (the bandana that is) and I've decided to keep doing so indefinitely, whether running, working, or otherwise, self-conscious cynicism be damned.

Thanks to Luke Nelson et al for a great weekend and another opportunity to run these beautiful trails.

Benjamin R. Lewis, MD, Ultrarunner.

Jeff Bertot, Chris Helfer, Matt Vukin pre race.
Camping out at Mink Creek campground

Helfer the Manimal after finishing the 100k.
Unrelated good run over Black Mtn. with my buddy Jeremy Howard visiting from Maine!
Bethany winning the Jemez 50 miler in May.  She should get her own blog.   

Stamatios Dentino MD, 2nd trail run ever, Living Room 6/8/15.
Bethany crushing the BST marathon.

Ada's first bike ride up Emigration Canyon.  

Peter Adler, Jeremy Howard.

Jeremy Howard, Ben Lewis, reliving Mt. Blue H.S. track and cross-country glory days.