Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lobo Cross Country Continues Elite Run at NCAAs

UNM Lobos - Defending NCAA Champions
The UNM Women's Cross Country Team ended their season two weekends past with another top ten national finish (7th place, 310 pts). The team entered the NCAA National Meet as the defending champions, seeded 6th. Their result marks the eighth straight top ten NCAA finish for Coach Joe Franklin's program which goes along with nine straight Conference championships. It's a real treat to have a national class program in our backyard considering the international champions that have come to New Mexico to train since the 80's.

Alice Wright (Jr.) and Calli Thackery (Sr.) achieved All American honors (top 40 finish). Home state athletes included 5th scorer Natasha Bernal (So. - La Cueva HS) and 6th runner Kendall Kelly (So. - Bosque School).

The Team's 2017 season has begun with a promising start, receiving a commitment from one of the top rated high school runners in the country - Footlocker Champion Weini Kelati out of Virginia.

Related Posts:
 - Cross Country 2013: UNM Runs 10th at NCAA
 - US Men Claim Silver at World Cross (2013)
 - New Mexico's Newest Olympic Hopeful (2016)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Norteños at the New York City Marathon

Smyth - US Mountain Running Champ
The New York Marathon kinda got lost in the madness that was the World Series and election combo last week.

It was a fine race up front and a fantastic race for American athletes. US finishers took six of the first eleven places on the men's side, including former La Cueva High standout and UNM alum Shadrack Biwott in 5th (2:12:01), and Santa Fe based pro Patrick Smyth in 10th (2:16:34).

Biwott at NYC
Pat ran a minute faster at February's Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing 8th - 3 secs back of 7th place Shadrack Biwott. Seems to be a thing with these two. I'd think Shadrack ought to probably spring for the tab if they ever hang out. For what's its worth I raced Pat back in May and he got the best of me. We squared-up with a few hundred other runners at the Jemez Mountain Trail Run and the dude put me in his wake by an hour+ over a 13mi course. I'm going with a strategy of patience and I think I'll close the gap over another 15yrs when he doesn't see me coming.

On the women's side the Americans fared quite well again with three in the top ten, but I was mostly focused on gold medal triathlete and CPA Gwen Jorgensen in her first attempt at the distance. She faded to 14th overall, 6th American (2:41:01), however I'm going to imagine she had the tax liability on her winnings calc'ed out before crossing the line and that counts for something in my book.

Additional notes and connections: Molly Huddle finished 3rd overall (2:28:13), notable here because she was a college teammate of Smyth's at Notre Dame. Prior to Biwott's 5th place finish, fellow Oregon alum Ken Martin ran to a 2nd place finish in 1989 (2:09:38). Ken lived and trained in Santa Fe in the year(s) leading up to that performance. The best finish at NYC by a New Mexican local was of course Tony Sandoval, (2:12:12) for 6th overall in 1981. Tony passed over both Oregon and Notre Dame to run for Stanford.

Ken Martin in '89 besting Italy's Olympic gold medalist, Bordin
NYC Results - 2016

Related Posts:
 - New York's Incredible High Line Park (2013)
 - NYC Marathon - Race Report (2011)
 - New Mexicans at the Olympic Trials Marathon (2016)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Santa Fe's First Snow of the Season - 2016

Aspen Vista Trail - Sun. Nov 6
courtesy Eric Peters
The season's first snow arrived on the peaks one weekend past. Last year myself and the family were out of state at a wedding and this year I was in baseball euphoria after the Cubs win, but let's not let a timing issue keep us from adding the new data to the list. 

We've tracked the mountains' first snow fall each year back to 2010. This year's snow fell in the high-country on Sat. and Sun. of our last weather event (Nov 5th and 6th). From the many images of folks up running, biking, and skiing it looked like accumulations of up to 6"- 8" 

The date of this year's first snow is on the later end of our trend the last seven years. Weather reports are predicting a dry El Nino winter and my hope is that these calls are based in nonsense and professional incompetence. 

Moar snow plz. 

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's First Snow 2015 - Oct. 21st
 - SFe's First Snow 2014 - Oct. 21st
 SFe's First Snow 2013 - Oct. 12th
 - SFe's First Snow 2012 - Nov. 16th
 - SFe's First Snow 2011 - Sep. 10th
 - SFe's First Snow 2010 - Nov. 10th 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Santa Fe Trail-Building Projects Lurch Forward

Drilling equipment setting the bracing for the new underpass
Work on the Acequia Trail Underpass began in earnest this weekend. Equipment has been hauled to the site and orange barrels are in place for the start of weekday traffic. This is a major piece of our new urban trail/pedestrian/cycling infrastructure which will surely incite cries of commuter agony for the next six months followed by decades of value, appreciation, and laudatory expressions of foresight and vision from future generations of Santa Feans.

This project and other have been held up all year due to City budget deliberations despite segregated allocation of funds between park and trail bond receipts and the city's general fund. Don't get me going on this topic, point being the new work is rolling now since a lot of the scheduled projects have completed the required planning and public input stages, committee approval, bidding, etc.

Santa Fe Conservation Trust volunteers at work on the new footbridge
at Camino de las Animas
Smaller less visible projects that have been completed in the meantime include a new extension of the Acequia Trail at Harrison Rd and La Cieneguita St;  A new footbridge over the ditch at Camino de las Animas (useful connector east onto Agua Fria and Canyon Rds; old bridge was all peligroso); Engineering and trail work on the unofficial north/south footpath in the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve; and the new work on the far east end of the River Trail - replacing and installing sidewalk along Alameda up to Patrick Smith Park.

The new footpath extension at Santa Fe Canyon Preserve.
Not yet officially completed or opened to public use.
There has also been several additions of bike lanes on city and county roads including Old Santa Fe Trail south of St. John's College through to El Gancho Way; New lanes on Siringo Dr. from St Francis Dr. to Llano St.

Major projects and additions anticipated for 2017 include the Pen Rd section of the Rail Trail (thru to Alta Vista), and the 15mi El Camino Real Trail along Buckman Rd from the Rio Grande to Caja del Rio Rd west of town. This second project is being managed by BLM and the National Park Service thankfully, removed from dependence on the City and it's various governing committees.

New bike lane off Old Las
Vegas Highway
The Harrison Rd connector
near Rufina; Acequia Trail
Related Posts:
 - Acequia Trail Underpass Groundbreaking/Announcement (Aug '16)
 - Acequia Trail Underpass GreenLit (Aug '15)
 - Arroyo Chamisos Underpass (2012)

Monday, September 5, 2016

New Fall Trail Races - Ultra Santa Fe and Bull of the Woods

There are a couple of new trail races on the schedule this Fall with a lot of potential:
  - The inaugural Ultra Santa Fe at the ski basin (Sep 10th), and
  - The inaugural Bull of the Woods Trail Run up in Taos Ski Valley (Sep 17th).

Ultra Santa Fe - 13mi/50km/50mi, Sep 10, 2016
Santa Fe's first organized ultra at both 50k and 50mi distances. Race directors Peter Olson and Taylor Pardue have done a ton of work and promotion to launch this new race. The courses are terrific (including the first rate maps setup on the race website), starting/finishing at the ski area lodge and descending the network of forest service trails on to Dale Ball in town (great race viewing, cheering, and cow-belling) before circling back up the mountain.

As of this writing there are 66 entries to the ultra distances and another 75 at the half marathon distance. This is going to be the new area test-piece, and the scheduling ties in beautifully to the fall trail racing calendar: it's one week before the Bull of the Woods Trail Run and Buffalo Thunder Half (Sep17), three weeks before Big Tesuque (Oct 2), and five weeks before Pajarito and Duke City (Oct 17).

More details and registration info at the event website here.

SF Reporter write-up - 6/29/16
SF New Mexican write-up - 9/1/16

Bull of the Woods Trail Run - 8mi, Sep 17, 2016
A couple of local trail runners in Taos have managed to get approval at the Northside@Taos Ski Valley trail system to stage an 8 mile high altitude race. The mostly singletrack course runs between 10,000-11,000 feet elevation with magnificent views of Gold Hill, Kachina Peak, and Lobo Peak. The expectation is that in years to come the race will be expanded into offering longer distances, and perhaps a combination run with the Taos Ski Valley Up-&-Over, and potentially part of a Northern New Mexico trail race series!

More details and registration info at the event website here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Acequia Trail Underpass GroundBreaking

After many months of delays the groundbreaking for the new bike and pedestrian tunnel linking the Railyard to the west Acequia Trail is set for this Wednesday, Aug 17th (Turns out it was a groundbreaking in name only - instead it was a formal announcement of groundbreaking planned for mid-September!). Construction is expected to take 6 months from beginning to end though some of this will be prep and landscape work rather than road closures.

Approximately 85% of the funding for this project source from a Federal Non-Motorized Transportation grant, the remainder from 2012 City Parks and Trails bonds. This won't keep un-informed and uninterested folks all over town from complaining about prioritizing spending. The project also spent many many years in planning, committees, and public meetings but this won't keep the same people from belly-aching about design or the need for an overpass or unrelated hang-ups, etcetera, etc., ad infinitum. Bottom line is that all of this new and sorely needed infrastructure is going to change the town for the better, tying together adjacent neighborhoods, increasing land values and incentivizing private investment, and increasing foot traffic for local businesses.

Acequia Trail Tunnel - Schematic drawings
A related project that will likely arrive on the heels of the new underpass is the re-work of the Rail Trail segment along Pen Rd and the Rail Runner Station between Cordova and Alta Vista. Trees will be added as will improved road crossings and safety medians. Planning is complete and funding has been allocated from previous bond sales. This whole area will be spruced up and looking fine.

Groundbreaking Celebration: Wednesday Aug 17th, 4pm

Related Posts:
 - Delays in Pending Trail Projects (2016)
 - Acequia Trail Underpass Scheduled for this Fall (2015)
 - Arroyo Chamisos Underpass Nears Completion (2012)

Friday, August 5, 2016

What It's Like to be a Parent - With Helpful Comparison to New Orleans Party

Important Dad skill: Crossing creeks with both coffee and kid
I traveled down to New Orleans recently for some wedding festivities. The friends and I brought the ruckus, rolling the celebrations out late over two nights, even high-stepping our own cocktail fueled street parade through the French Quarter complete with marching band and police escort. We went big even by our own historical standards, by accountants' standards we would have been off the charts. Straight up partied our asses off, committed fully to the task at hand. Flawless execution. The 7,000+ ft drop in altitude for myself only provided an even larger tank of fuel then normal to burn through.
Now, on my return home, not even one full week later I’m out on an evening mtb ride with a friend (also an accountant I should add). It is hot as holy hell. No wind or breeze to speak of, I’m literally thanking my good judgment for filling two water bottles before heading out of the house (usually take just one). I’m sweating sheets during the ride and this requires me to stop on several occasions to clear my eyes because I’m blinded. We are not even in the hills - no climbing, just zipping around Galisteo and pedaling madly up/down the southern stretches of the Rail Trail in Eldorado. We grab a beer after the ride and I’m definitely more filthy than average because I'm annoyingly conscious that my entire upper body is coated in a film of sweat and dust and I feel it when I move, minor actions like talking and smiling and swiveling my head. Thirty minutes later I pull into the house just in time for the 3yr old's bedtime so I walk in the door and directly into his room where I sit with him until he’s asleep. We both fall asleep of course - me in the rocking chair, layered in sweat and dust baked in by sun, he in his nearly outgrown toddler's bed. I was at the office all day and was spent. I wake up super early a.m. and on autopilot drag my broken old-man body out of that freaking chair and sleepwalk straight into the shower because I literally feel several degrees worse at this moment than I did on either of the late unsteady mornings in New Orleans the week before.
I feel that this story very elegantly illustrates what it’s like to be a parent and I wanted to share my pain with other people. Being a parent is super-fun though there's lots of discomfort and confusion and small humiliations of unusually high frequency and the occasional absence of beds or any type of necessary self-planning.
P.S. New Orleans is a riot and you should go there.
Related Posts:
- Adventure on the Winsor Trail (Sep 2014)
- Greatest Dad Wins (Apr 2015)
 - Fat  Man (Apr 2015)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prep Miler With New Mexico Roots Qualifies for Olympic Trials

Aragon - Olympic Trials qualifier
Several high school athletes will be competing at this weekend's Olympic Trials in Eugene, including two high school seniors in the women's 1500m. Kate Murphy (Lake Braddock HS, Virginia) and Christina Aragon (Billings HS, Montana) both qualified by time with the #3 and #4 prep marks of all-time (4:07.21 and 4:09.27).

Aragon happens to be the youngest daughter of legendary New Mexico miler Chuck Aragon, a former Los Lunas HS state champion, an MD and graduate of UNM medical school, as well as the alternate on the 1984 Olympic Team in the 1500m. Her mother Kathy (Pfiefer) was a standout runner at UNM who qualified to run in the Trials more than once (3x to be specific).

Quality genetics led to multiple national championships on the track as a junior last year for Christina, and at a recent qualifying race in Portland she ran away from a field of professional and collegiate runners, just dipping under the Trials mark of 4:09.50, running solo and chasing the time by herself over the final lap.

Aragon is not expected to compete at the front for one of the spots on the Olympic team, her effort will be measured a success if she can make the finals. She has committed to run for Stanford in the Fall unlike her sisters and father who all ran for the University of Notre Dame.

See the bios and achievements of all sixteen prep Trials qualifiers (12 girls, 4 boys). They include one current world champion, a couple junior world champions, and several national record holders.

Christina ran through to the semi-finals, missing out on a finals qualifier by two places finishing in 4:12:71. Kate Murphy also missed qualifying out of the semis.

Related Posts:
 - New Mexico's Four Minute Milers
 - New Mexico's Newest Olympic Hopeful (2016)
 - The Tough Guy List (Chuck Aragon)

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.

 - Albuquerque Academy alum and prep track phenom Curtis Beach will compete for a spot in the Decathlon. He runs for Nike, and lives and trains in Arizona.

 - 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.

Updated 2:
Courtney finished 2nd in 9:20.92 and will be running in Rio as an Olympian. So awesome.

Related Posts:
 - New Mexicans at the Olympic Trials Marathon (2016)
 - Chuck Aragon's Kid Earns a Trials Spot in the 1500m (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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Running Times Signs Off

The Running Times has ceased publication as of this last January edition and I am seriously bummed. Editions remain in news stands at the Running Hub and elsewhere. The last pure running publication, pure in the sense that a fresh copy of the RT best conveyed that running meant something. Its articles and writing best captured the sense of athlete performances in context of the sport, of the relevant history, and of whom was leading its newest charge. Other outlets will fill the void but they're varied and dispersed in a sport that carries niche attention. A sad day.

Gracing the final cover with Des Devila was an inspired choice. An everyman that penned her own arrival in a dramatic finish on Boylston. Like many that led the way before her, she broke into the elite from obscurity, years of careful ground work in place, and with her the intense belief that she alone could wear the champion's laurel.

No other publication or outlet brought the weight of RT. The sport will be different in its absence.


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