Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Mexico's Newest Olympic Hopeful

UNM's Courtney Frerichs
The Olympic Trials are one week away and the NCAA Championships are two weeks past. This small window of time allows a moment to reflect on UNM's first and most recent individual national track champion, Courtney Frerichs. A member of last fall's national champion cross-country team, Frerichs ran away from the field in the 3000m steeplechase and soloed to the title as well as a new UNM and NCAA collegiate record in 9:24:41, breaking the previous record held by 1500m world champion Jenny Simpson by a little more than a second. Frerichs was NCAA runner-up last year running for University of Missouri Kansas City before applying as a graduate transfer to UNM for her final year of eligibility.

New collegiate 3000m steeplechase record
She was a heavy favorite to win the title, winning by nearly 100m. Her time however was exceptionally fast, 6th fastest all-time among US women, which now positions her for a realistic spot on the US Olympic team. She's currently the third US ranked woman by time:

  1. Coburn, 9:10.76 AR
  2. O'Connor, 9:18.85
  3. Frerichs, 9:24.41 CR
  4. Higginson, 9:33.38
  5. Cheever, 9:37.12 

This ranking comes with the caveat that two of the top 5 US women (Garcia, Quigley) have yet to compete this year. Both have PRs within one second of Frerichs new best. Should Frerichs find her way into the top three next week she'll be the first Olympian hailing from New Mexico since Shelly Steely and Aaron Ramirez in 1992.

Left out a few athletes with local ties (naturally).

 - Santa Fe athlete Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton is one of a handful of Americans in legitimate contention for one of the 10,000m spots. She'll be competing this weekend at the US Trials.

 - Former Lobo standout Ross Millington has punched his ticket to Rio and will be representing the UK in the 10,000m. He lives and trains in Europe.

 - Another former Lobo standout and European Champion Lee Emanuel has a shot at representing the UK in the 1500m. He needs to record a time of 3:36.20 by weeks end. Lee lives and trains in Europe.

Several other UNM sprinters and field event athletes will be competing in their respective nations trials this weekend. A write-up and list of these athletes was pulled together by the UNM athletic department.

Related Posts:
 - New Mexicans at the Olympic Trials Marathon (2016)
 - Olympic Steeplechase Recap (London 2012)
 - A Brief Meeting with Billy Mills

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Our Wild Friends

Long-tailed weasel - mustela frenata
Seems like there is an abundance wildlife in and around the city this summer. The pre-dawn chorus of birds has been amazing this week. Set your alarm (4:40am) and brew some coffee, the show is always free. In a separate encounter, my brother-in-law and running partner tells the story of a run-in of his over the weekend with what he thought was likely a litter of young long-tailed weasels along the Winsor - Big Tesuque Creek (not to be confused with black-footed ferrets, endangered and very rare). Bunch of little guys scurrying around, chirping, and looking lively. Looking for mice and squirrels I suppose. Something I've never seen in and around these parts so I imagine I'll plan to head up that way and take a look around.

Also up on the Winsor - near the Borrego junction - there have been sightings of bear as well as a lion and her cub. The lion was actually engaged in a brief chase of a descending mountain biker before the rider smartly dismounted and confronted the animal. His friend descending behind him scared the lion back into hiding. Lions are known to act aggressively toward children (small and vulnerable), and cyclists who are mistaken for deer. Think I'll take a pass on visiting the lions and with luck they won't eat up the weasel family. Be cool lions, be cool.

Lastly there was of course the bear attack up at the Valles Caldera this last weekend, though to be fair I’ve known of several sightings up that way (one was at a previous Valles Caldera Marathon event) that didn’t end in a mauling. Surprising a bear with her cub(s) shouldn't be on anyone's summer list. Glad to hear the runner is alright and hope she returns to the trails for easier miles before the winter months return.

Related (Animal) Posts:

- Nambe Creek - TR 160

Winsor along the Chamisa, Bear Wallow, and Borrego junctions

Friday, April 22, 2016

Plaza2Peak - Sun April 24th

This year's 2nd Annual Plaza2Peak event has been organized for this Sunday morning (4/24), 830am. If you haven't been receiving the emails all Race Director details are below:

Inaugural start - Santa Fe Plaza
Plaza2Peak is Santa Fe's best race. It was started in 2015 after Maddawg found the idea in the bottom of a bottomless marg. Starting with a hot lap around the plaza, toping out over 12,000', and finishing with an SEC-style tailgate, it is the only way to spend a gale-force spring day. 

0) There will be a $15 entry fee to help cover the cost of the tailgate and ~prizes~. Find me on venmo @Madeleine-Carey or bring cash day of.

1) Race will start at 9 AM SHARP from the plaza.

2) The "ski" will go to the summit of Deception, not to the sign in the saddle that says Tesuque (not the Towers, not the top of the chairlift). Descend to parking lot for event tail-gater. 

3) Racers may either run or bike, no combined division. Michael Dax will be the first and the only champion of that division. 

4) There will be no requirement to carry your skis on your bike. 

5) If you carry your skis on your bike, you will be awarded a handicap. Contact Bryan Rogala for help attaching your skis to your bike.

Bryan - pioneer of awesome
6) Pre-race meeting/briefing and ski drop at the Fort Marcy Parking Lot. Look for the big white truck. EVERYONE MUST BE THERE!!

7) Wear a helmet on your bike
    wear a helmet on your skis
    wear a helmet when you hike
    wear a helmet at all times please! 

8) I will send a detailed email on April 21st so if you ask a question, I will answer it on that day. Unless you want to sponsor this, then ask away!

9) Forward away!!! 

Plaza2Peak - 2015

Related Posts:
 - Candide Thovex - Freesking the French Alps
 - Santa Fe's New Ski Shuttle
 - Santa Fe's First Snow of the 2015 Season - Oct 21.15

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Delays in Pending Santa Fe Trail Projects

Several Santa Fe city trail projects that appeared to have been slated for work prior to year-end 2015 have yet to move forward. There's sadness and disappointment each time I'm running errands on the bike scanning for the expected orange barrels and flags. These things are complex but with planning complete and funding in-hand the recent delays are difficult to explain. Pending projects include the Acequia Trail Underpass, the Pen Road connector, Dale Ball connector at the SF Canyon Preserve, various signage, etc.

My working theory on the stalled work is that the city's current financial problems are creating a freeze, and this affects the planned projects even though funds for trail construction source from bond money rather than city operating funds and shouldn't be affected by the coming budget cuts. The full reason is likely some combination of staffing uncertainty and a defensive political posture from the Council who would ultimately approve the ground-breaking on these projects.

A review of the Jan. minutes from the Bicycles and Trails Advisory Committee (BTAC) shows little if any discussion on the anticipated projects and no indication of construction planning. The next BTAC meeting is tomorrow evening (Wed 2/17), 530pm at City Hall. Should you ever have the itch to show up and discuss a trail topic know that public comments are welcome and are generally the third item on the evening's agenda after roll-call and approval of minutes.

Related Posts:
 - Acequia Trail Underpass Scheduled this Fall (Sep 2015)
 - Trail Improvement Page
 - Arroyo Chamiso Underpass Nears Completion (Jun 2012)
 - Santa Fe Rail Trail Improvements (Sep 2015)

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Mexicans at the Olympic Trials Marathon

Pay Smyth - 2015 XTERRA worlds
This year's Olympic Marathon Trials run Saturday in Los Angeles. Organizers report a record number of qualifiers (457) for the race, 211 men and 246 women of which a total of 373 appear entered to run. There will be a small New Mexican contingent out there including Magdalena Donahue (Sandoval) of Albuquerque/Los Alamos, Patrick Smyth of Utah/Santa Fe, and the Navajo Nation's Linnabah Snyder.

For Donahue this is her second Trials. She competed in Houston in 2012 but didn't finish the race, running three months pregnant at the time. Her qualifying time has improved though she's just four months removed from delivering her second child and a recent defense of her PhD dissertation. To be considered a national-class athlete in this context is somewhat extraordinary. Her father won this race in 1980. A recent Q&A with the Duke's Track Club can be found here, Magdalena's insight and training updates can be found here.

Donahue's personal photo-shop effort - 2012 Olympic Trials
Smyth has recently moved to Santa Fe to train with Ryan Bolton and his group of elites. He's originally from Utah, ran at the University of Notre Dame (HOW 'BOUT THEM IRISH!), and in his brief pro career has run World Cross Country (36th), collected 1st and 2nds at the US Mountain Running Championships (10th at Worlds), and is the three-time XTERRA world trail running champion.

Linnabah Snyder
Don't know much of Snyder other than she made it happen by one second with a 2:44:59 finish at the California Int'l Marathon, and will be on the line in LA tomorrow. Whole lot of respect for a runner that can get it done at that level.

NBC will be carrying the race live tomorrow, 1100am MT. All three 2012 Olympians on the women's side are running (Flanagan, Goucher, Devila). Meb Keflezighi is the only returning Olympic marathoner from 2012 on the men's side, Dathan Ritzenhein represented the U.S. in 2008 but finished fourth in the 2012 trials and later qualified in the 10,000m.

Men's 2016 Qualifiers
Women's 2016 Qualifiers

Update: I'm told Craig Curley of the Navajo Nation will be running as will UNM alums Shadrack Biwott and Chris Barnicle. Good luck to all.

Updated Results: Biwott 7th, 2:15:23; Smyth 8th, 2:15:26; Curley 98th, 2:42:55; Magdalena Donahue, DNF; Linnabah Snyder, DNF.
Full results here

Related Posts:
 - Olympic Marathon Trials (2012)
 - Armijo Runs to an Olympic Trials Qualifier
 - A Brief Meeting with Billy Mills
 - Meb Wins Boston


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