Saturday, December 31, 2011

Breaking Radio Silence

Pickin' Pumpkins for Haloween

I have to admit that this blog post is long overdue. I really haven't posted anything in the several months. I have sat down several times to start writing it, but have then either felt completely uninspired to write anything, not had time to write about all that has happened, or have let the ADD take over and spent time blog-stalking, catching up on twitter, or mindlessly surfing in search of the end of the Internet. To be honest I just didn't feel like writing, I needed to check out for a while.

 2011 was an incredible year for me. I had an incredible Ski Mountaineering season with a 3rd at the US Championships, 4th at Grand Targhee Skimo Classic, and 4th at Bridger Bowl Skin to Win. The 3rd at the champs earned me a spot on the US Skimo Team and I had the chance to go to Italy for the World Championships where I placed 19th in the teams race with Pete Swenson, 42 in the individual race and 32 in the sprint. I came back to win the Wasatch Powderkeg two weeks later.

Skimo Racing in Italy

 After an awesome skimo season I switched gears and started the run season. I won the Menan Butte Challenge to start the season off, then spent a long weekend in Zion at the Vitamin D camp. I chased that with a solid 6th at the Pocatello 50 and then a summer of focused training that took me up the Tooth of Time in New Mexico countless times, up Pikes Peak, had a ton of fun shooting a video for ultraspire and a enjoyed long weekend at Hardrock pacing Matt Hart.

Hitting the TH after Running the Grand Teton

 As my fitness started to get solid I headed to Utah for the OR retailer and threw down at the Uphill Challenge (3rd) then the next day battled for a 3rd at the very competitive Jupiter Peak Steeplechase. The next weekend I defended my title at El Vaquero Loco, then two weeks later attempted to break the car to car record in the Grand Teton. I came up short but put down a very solid 3:33:00 overall time. I tapered over the next couple weeks and went into the Wasatch 100 as fit as ever. I had an epic race ( in a good way) and finished 2nd, only being bettered by my good friend Fast Evan Honeyfield. Two weeks later I was honored to pace UltraRunning legend Roch Horton at the Bear 100, which was a heck of a good time. Nearing the end of the season Ty Draney and I took advantage of racing fitness and headed out to do the Great Salmon Run. That final run took a lot out of me and I was admittedly broken, both physically and emotionally, after our 52 hour sojourn in the Frank Church Wilderness area. Since then I haven't really written on the blog. I was tired, I was broken down after an incredible year of training and racing. I needed to get off the radar for a while and digest what had happened over the summer and reflect on how incredibly lucky I am to be able to do the things I do.

 Ironically, though I was pretty down for a while, most of October actually. Maybe it was due to not having any specific training goals, there was also some big uncertainty with employment and some tough financial times as well. I spent a significant amount of time reflecting and trying to plan for the future. I didn't "train" in October or the first week or so of November. I did get out and run some but mostly just to be out, no specific workouts. I also roller skied a fair bit and tried to get on skis a few times. As the middle of November rolled around I started to train for skimo season, mostly just volume but also a few intensity workouts.

 My family and the Draney clan headed down to St George to celebrate thanksgiving with Bryce Thatcher and his family. It was a good excuse to get out and run some good dirt, play by the pool and warm up a little before the long Idaho winter. We enjoyed an awesome thanksgiving day run with Bryce and his boys up Signal Mountain, then we completely stuffed ourselves. The next day we took our families to Zion and spent the day hiking the trade routes of Angel's Landing and The Narrows. The next day Ty and I set out to run the Zion Traverse (and break the FKT) which went well for about 20 miles until Ty started to have some hip pain which evolved into a significant hitch in his stride. We pulled the plug at the grotto, and brought both of our running seasons to a close (for real this time). 

Family Picture After Climbing Angel's Landing

After thanksgiving I tried to focus hard on skimo training, but December has been so warm and dry in Idaho that staying motivated to ski has been very difficult. I have been pretty stubborn though and I think my skimo fitness is finally coming around, good thing to as the US champs are just over a week away! With the US champs on the horizon and a few other big skimo races not to far off I have already started to shift focus to the upcoming run year. I am very excited about the upcoming season so far my schedule is looking like this:
-Chuckanut 50k
-Pocatello 50 or San Diego 100
-San Juan Solstice ( if P50)
-Pacing at Hardrock
-El Vaquero Loco
-UTMB (lottery dependent)
-Wasatch 100 (lottery dependent)
-Bear 100 (if I don't get into UTMB or Wasatch)

Smiling...Even Though the Snow is Aweful

I will likely throw in a few other shorter races as tune-ups and like always the entire schedule is slightly subject to change. I entered into the Hardrock Lottery, but wasn't drawn, and I had given thought to the Grand Slam but wasn't keen on coughing up the cash for the Western States Lottery (sometime I'll write my thoughts in that). I also plan on sending as much time as possible running in the Tetons and am going to take another stab at the Grand sometime late summer.

 One last thing, for those of you still reading, I am incredibly excited and humbled to announce a change in sponsorship for this upcoming season. I have been invited to be a member of the Patagonia Ultra-running Team. As a youth I dreamed of being a mountaineer in the pages of a Patagonia catalog, and it is quite literally a dream come try to represent this incredible company (and everything they stand for) for this upcoming run season.  I have to say it is so awesome to actually be living my one of my dreams!  With that I am off to a New Years Party, hopefully next week I will have time to post a summary of the last year, also I have been approached about having some guest posts on the blog, so there may be some varied content coming your way.  Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!


  1. Good to see another post. I always enjoy catching up on this blog. Thanks again for the interview this semester, it went over extremely well. Wishing you and yours the best for the new year!

  2. Congrats on the Patagonia news...on that subject, which wind jackets/shells do you use for training in the colder months and why? I believe you've mentioned the Houdini you have opinions on the knifeblade or wind shield jackets?

  3. Tyler- my go to jacket is the Houdini. I very rarely leave home without it! In the winter it is great because of it's wind and water protection, plus it breathes very well. Because it is so light it dries very quickly and stows so small you'll forget you have it...until you need it. I have a windshield pullover and I think it is a great jacket when it is very very cold ( less than 10 deg). Because it is made with R1 fleece it is incredibly efficient at retaining heat and the wind proof panel is exactly that, totally wind proof, but also not super breathable. I have yet to use any other jackets but can very confidently recommend the Houdini.

  4. hiya Luke - that was quite the year you had, no wonder you needed the break in the fall! We all need that time to recharge since we're redlining so much of the rest of the year.
    It was great to have been able to spend so much time together at Vit D, our car ride down and the conversation was one of the big highlights for me.
    That is excellent news about Patagonia, you will fit in well with the rest of the team there, and be an excellent ambassador for them. We'll miss you at LaSportiva, but that's the way it goes. Hope you got your pro-deal in on skis when you could ;-)
    So you're heading up for Chuckanut? Awesome! I'll see you there, it's almost a home town race for me.

  5. Thanks for your input on the Houdini. Appreciate the help

  6. Congrats on the Skimo National Championship! Not a bad way to start the year.