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June 23, 2011

Soft Star Moc3 Arrives; Moccasins in National Geographic; Western States Mojo

A few odds and ends to wrap up the week before I head off to one of the biggest trail running events of the year …

The much-anticipated Moc3 is now available from the Soft Star website. You can read my Moc3 preview article here, and I’ll have an official review published sometime next week.

Coincidentally, I happened to be wearing my Moc3s when I was interviewed in May by a writer for the National Geographic Education website, who was putting together an article about ultrarunning. The finished product was published earlier this month, and you can check it out here.

However, before you get too excited, it’s important to note that the “Education” arm of National Geographic is an entirely separate entity from the parent magazine, and is geared toward school-aged readers – so instead of “Inspiring the world through exploration and cultural enlightenment”, the general vibe is more along the lines of, “Hey, look – grown-ups actually use geography sometimes!” Nevertheless, the article made for a nice read, and the "ultrarunning in moccasins" angle was included an an extra curiosity – or as one of the Soft Star Elves wrote to me, They make you out to be slightly crazy. Well, true … but it’s not like they had very far to stretch.

On Saturday morning I’m headed to Foresthill, CA to participate in the Western States Endurance Run as a pacer for Gretchen, whose running talent I hinted at in my recent Auburn Trail Run report. I’m penciled in to run 38 miles with her, which would normally be a pretty tall order for me; I can only hope that the 62 miles she’s running through snow and heat and steep canyons before joining me might put just enough sting in her legs for me to keep up. Either way, it promises to be an interesting night.

You can follow her progress through the day or night on the Western States tracking page; she’s runner #119. And if you’re looking for extensive previews and reporting on this year’s event or updates from the front of the pack on race day, be sure to check out Bryon Powell’s outstanding coverage over at iRunFar. Bryon happens to be running the race as well, taking the concept of embedded journalism to a whole new realm.

Since I’ll be fairly late in posting over the weekend, here are a couple more Western States-related items for you to chew on. The first is a trailer for a feature-length film that will be released this fall; it’s an inside view the epic 3-way battle at last year’s WS100, where the 100-mile distance was turned into an honest-to-goodness footrace throughout the final several hours. It remains to be seen whether that scenario was lightning in a bottle or a sign of things to come – but regardless, the race was far and away the coolest story in ultrarunning last year.

“Unbreakable: The Western States 100”, by JourneyFilm (click to play):

The second clip is an in-depth (13+-minutes) profile of Geoff Roes, last year’s Western States champion, who also happens to be undefeated at the 100-mile distance. Considering his athletic prowess, it’s quite remarkable what a mellow, laid-back guy he appears to be. He doesn’t exactly display the eye of the tiger, but I guess if you can run like a deer it doesn’t much matter. The video is an enlightening look into his training regimen, his mindset during long races, and his overall philosophy about trail running, and is a great portrait of a champion who sometimes seems nearly as reluctant as he is dominant.

“Geoff Roes: Slogging to the Top”, by Running Times (click to play):

Whether it’s Geoff who crosses the line in Auburn first this weekend or somebody else, Western States will have another remarkable story to tell for everybody who competes this year, and I’m grateful that I’ll have a front-row seat to see a part of it in person – just as long as I can keep pace with that girl.

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RD Jim 6/24/11, 9:45 AM  

You go moc man!

Richard Averett 6/24/11, 10:14 AM  

The Nat'l Geog piece was pretty impressive. You made it out to be nothing much, but you were the STAR.
Enjoyed the video on Roes.
I'll follow WS on-line, but wish i were there.

I Pull 400 Watts 6/24/11, 12:03 PM  

Can't wait to see how the race goes! Have fun!!

Pamela 6/25/11, 9:56 PM  

I wish I were up at ALT right now so I could say hello as you pass through. Sadly, too many business trips back to back to make it. Hope you have a fabulous experience!

Donald 6/26/11, 5:33 PM  

Pam: I looked for you as soon as we got there! Sorry you couldn't make it. Hopefully there's another time for both of us.

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