Month: June 2019

Broken Arrow Sky Race VK

Broken Arrow Sky Race VK

Just finished a “B” race – Broken Arrow Skyrun VK Friday 21st. Set a PR of 1:16:02. Previous best was at the 2015 Flagstaff Sky Race VK at 1:32:37. Had a few years off from various injuries, returned to running training this past January and Stryd was essential to that process. Here’s the Power Center data from Suunto narrowed down to the race itself. There was a bit of standing around up front waiting for the gun and then the hike out to the tram for the descent that are not in this segment. If the race were a week later I’d have been an AG Placer. 🙂 Now I need to get serious. “A” Race Aug 30. Read more at

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My Gear Spread Pics for the Broken Arrow VK

I’m sure you’ve seen them on Instagram and Facebook, etc, but it’s common for runners to post pics of all their stuff laid out or being packed, with all the cool kid hashtags. I took some pics, but they aren’t really all laid out and I didn’t do all the cool kid hashtags.

Here’s my suitcase almost packed, and a few other baggies I’ll be putting into my personal item carry on. I’ll be carrying on this suitcase too, as I don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees for checked luggage. Though I guess technically I have airline points that would earn me a freebie checked bag.

That being said, it took me quite a bit of effort to get my gear together. I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll be able to pause enough in the hotel in Reno to get some better gear spread pics and maybe explain a few of my choices. I was hoping to encompass a broad range of potential weather conditions.

Wednesday forecast for Squaw – note that wind!

Thursday Afternoon June 20

Most recent (Thursday) forecast for Squaw

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What even is training for a VK all about?

Quoted long-form from this article:

The sport of VK running is relatively unheard of in Australia. It’s a Euro thing that is quickly gaining traction as trail and Skyrunning grows around the world. The International Skyrunning Federation defines it as follows: “Races with 1,000 m vertical climb over variable terrain with a substantial incline, not exceeding five kilometres in length.” The shortest VK in the world, which incidentally is also the fastest, is in Fully, Switzerland. It’s 1.9 km in length, with an average incline of 52% Essentially, vertical Kilometers are all about super steep mountains where an athlete has to maintain a steady state at close to maximum exertion for anywhere from 30 minutes (For the best in the world!) to an hour. 

Training for such an event requires very specific sessions and to get the lowdown on what to do I asked some of the top guys in the sport. The consensus was fairly clear: 

1) Start by gaining some experience and strength on big hills. Do lots of general runs, up to 2 hours, where you focus on consistent rhythm when climbing and get to understand what your limits are and at what point you are tipping over the edge. 

2) Once a foundation of general fitness and strength is laid, introduce 2 x weekly sessions, one being hills reps on really short but steep climbs (EG: 10 x 60 secs). The steeper the better! The other should be on longer climbs, up to 20 minutes (For example 3 x 10 mins or 2 x 20 mins). 

3) Weight training, with emphasis on power, not endurance should be done regularly. However this is should be introduced gradually into a program. Running should always take priority and a good base of mountain training is necessary before introducing gym work. 

The above is a very basic guide. On the days between the hill-specific workouts, it’s good to maintain a connection with some flat running and speed. A weekly long run of up to 2:30 hours is also important to build fitness and endurance. Cycling can also be a good addition to compliment the running.

 (minor edits for formatting that made it tough to read)

So yeah, I’m a bit weak in a few of those areas. I was doing some short hill sprints earlier in the season, but right now I’ve been mostly focused on getting increasing weekly vertical goals in. This has brought my weekly miles down a bit, since it’s tough to get in 30 mile weeks at 3 mph. That’s my average speed at 22% on the treadmill.

I’ll be posting more of this training specific information as well as condition updates for Squaw Valley where the Broken Arrow Sky Run VK will be held. Stay tuned please.

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Getting Excited for Broken Arrow Sky Race VK in Squaw Valley

I was thrilled to find out that much of the ridge will be clear of snow, except for a few of the usual spots for the Vertical Kilometer (VK) race on Friday June 21 2019. The organizers posted a video of the famous Stairway to Heaven section of the course, showing a little bit of snow to be traversed at the base of the stairs. Check out their video:

VID_20190612_150104647_3 from Broken Arrow Skyrace on Vimeo.

So much fun watching that, right?

My wife said “That looks a lot like you” and I replied “only my thighs are thicker…”

Here is a shot of the advanced weather report for you.

Just yesterday evening I did a big push up the trail on Box Elder Peak, and surprisingly was able to push 700 VAM in spite of much of the trail being under water and scary rough crossings like so.

This is final bridge that stopped me from going further. It was too dangerous to cross.

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Broken Arrow VK Course Updates for June 14

The Broken Arrow Sky Race organizers have posted on their Facebook:

VK drop bags will be available on top of Squaw Peak (at the finish line). It’s helpful to pack a warm layer here so you can hang out and cheer on the other finishers…. but please note that these bags have to be left at the registration tents no later than 830am! Remember … you’ll be cruising down to High Camp (another mile) from the top of the peak too.

I was curious about the descent, and that sort-of a little-bit answers it.

6/14/19 Course Update from Broken Arrow Skyrace on Vimeo.

And then a bit more on the ridge line conditions:

There are patches of dirt for sure and the entire Stairway to Heaven ridge line are dry ….
Remember that while there is a LOT of snow on the course it’s likely to be 80-degrees on race day. Essentially you’re feet will be on a winter surface while the rest of you will be experiencing summer.

So let’s see where I am in my training over the next few days. Remember that to me this is a “B RACE” which means it’s more important than a mere fitness-test race, which is coming up for me in July, but not as important as an “A RACE” which is my August event.

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Testing Stryd Suunto Steady Power Trail Run

Testing Stryd Suunto Steady Power Trail Run

Jun 1 2019 did a 7.2 mile trail run testing out the Stryd and Suunto 9 Baro connection. I had to keep my eyes on the watch since it won’t announce out of zone power but it wasn’t too bad. I was shooting for around 200 watts and hit 202 Normalized Power (from Training Peaks analysis). Stryd on iPad makes this cool little video that I edited in Vegas Video. Check out the zoom in on the power readout.

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