Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend Headlines

41st Annual HTC Rocket Run 10 Miler
Old Brick Church - Mooresville, AL
March 21, 2015

Mitchell captures female title, places 5th overall, sets state age record
Heeschen, Debolt, Charette go 2-3-4
Clark finishes 2nd overall female

Official Results

2 George Heeschen, 28 - 57:31 5:46
3 Erik Debolt, 32 - 58:56 5:54
4 Eric Charette, 39 - 1:01:12 6:08
5 Lauren Mitchell, 30F - 1:01:27 6:09
8 Robert Whitaker, 56 - 1:04:21 6:27
10 Marty Clarke, 53 - 1:04:54 6:30
14 Martin Schneekloth, 43 - 1:07:15 6:44
15 Rick Maehlmann, 38 - 1:08:01 6:49
17 Todd Parsons, 47 - 1:08:51 6:54
18 Julia Clark, 30F - 1:09:29 6:57
39 Kelcy Brunner, 25F - 1:15:39 7:34
56 Alison Doyle, 44F - 1:17:30 7:45
57 Kathy Youngren, 40F - 1:17:30 7:45
164 Donna Palumbo, 54F - 1:38:33 9:52

Savage Gulf Marathon
Beersheba Springs, TN
March 21, 2015

Fritz finishes 5th master, 10th overall at Savage Gulf

Official Results

10 Eric Fritz - 5:33:34

37th Annual Lake Guntersville
Lake Guntersville, AL
March 14, 2015

Overton finishes 3rd female overall

Official Results

12 Dana Overton - 51:51

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Motivational Signs

A few weeks ago our Fleet Feet Racing Team got together for a meeting to kick off the new season. As part of the meeting, they were randomly paired up and given 15 minutes to create signs for the upcoming Bridge Street Half Marathon. Some were funny, some where motivational, some were not something to show your mom, but fun was had by all.

Follow @FleetFeetHSV on race day for updates and be sure to tag your photos with #BridgeStreetHalf.

Linda Scavarda and Eric Patterson
"The elite runners quit hours ago"

Marty Clarke, Susi Bowermaster, Nate and Clara Maehlmann
"Don't quit runners"

Donna Palumbo and Eric Fritz
"Quit now and go shopping @FleetFeetHSV"

Julia Clark and Rick Maehlmann
"Your perspiration is my inspiration"

Aleisha Chaffin
"Half marathoners do it 'til it hurts"

Todd Parsons
"I am not running half of anything.  I am crushing the whole 13.1"

Katie Maehlmann and Rob Youngren
"You can be sorry or sore tomorrow.  Your choice!"

Eric Charette and Alison Doyle
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that... Neil Armstrong only took one step #25,000Steps"

Greg Reynolds and Dana Overton
"You're running better than the government"

Lauren Mitchell and Erik DeBolt
"As you pass we are checking out your @FleetFeetHSV"

James Falcon and Andy Durr
"It's long.  It's hard.  So do it faster"

Kelcy Brunner and Julie Mason
"If you collapse I will pause your Garmin"

Gear Review: Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 by Martin Schneekloth

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2015

Gear Review: Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 by Martin Schneekloth

As I prepare for the ultimate adventure and one of my top ten bucket list items, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) in France in August 2015, I will be testing out and evaluating different gear options that are either going to be part of the mandatory gear or are optional but that I consider essential for my ability to reach the finish line.

While, not specifically listed as a required piece of equipment, runners will be unable to carry all of the mandatory gear without some type of pack. Rummaging through the running gear that I've accumulated over the past few years I figured that the Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek (SJ) Ultra Vest might fit the bill. Full disclosure, the follow up model, the Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 has been available since last year, but since I already owned the first model, I am reviewing it here. While the 2.0 version has some improvements, specifically in regards to materials used (e.g. stretch, durability, breathability, etc.) and side adjustment straps, this review should still help you understand its usability in general terms, since the two packs do not vary that much in terms of utility.

The Georgia Death Race, a 68 miles footrace with approx. 20,000ft of climb through the North Georgia mountains, would be the perfect proving ground for my pack. The race required some basic mandatory gear: weather proof jacket, thermal top, warm hat, emergency whistle, headlamp or torch with spare batteries, capacity to carry minimum of 22oz of water, emergency blanket. In addition, I needed to be able to carry personal nutrition and trekking poles as well as any additional items of clothing should the weather turn for the worse. While the Ultimate Direction AK Vest could possibly have been enough to carry this gear, I would have struggled to add any "extra" items without straining the pack. The SJ vest would give me just a little extra room, if needed. Below are the manufacturer specs with some personal comments added.

Manufacturer Features and Specs

Front of the pack
  • 2x Smart phone compatible pouches (iphone 5 barely fits, iphone 6 would likely not fit)
  • 2x Bottle holsters tighten to carry camera, etc. (will hold most currently available smart phones)
  • 4x Gel or bar pouches (can possibly hold 2 gels each)
  • 2x Electrolyte or valuables pockets (one waterproof pocket is very useful for small ipod & headphones or salt tablets, the other pocket stretches nicely and could also function as a "pack out" pocket, read: trash pocket)
  • 2x Fully adjustable sternum straps (they slide up and down and adjust to almost any body shape as long as you choose the proper vest size)
  • 1x Emergency whistle (nice to have, especially when it's a mandatory piece of gear)
Back of the pack
  • 2x Secure lat pockets, with stretch panel behind (not accessible without sliding pack off your shoulders, but perfect for items you do not plan to access regularly during your adventure, e.g. epipen, body glide, chap stick, etc.)
  • 2x Zippered compartments (allows for compartmentalization of your gear, one larger and one smaller compartment)
  • 2x Trekking pole loops (they work perfectly in concert with the 4x plastic hooks and the adjustable bungee cord on the pack of the pack to secure your poles and your gear)
  • 1x Ice axe loop (hopefully, I get to use this loop some day)
  • Accommodates a 70 oz. reservoir (sold separately, but almost any brand of reservoir should work)
  • Overall Volume Capacity: 427 cubic inches / 7l
  • Fluid Capacity: 2 x 20 oz bottles / 2 x 591 ml plus optional 2l reservoir (I opted to replace the bottles that come with the pack with 2x soft UD body bottles)
  • Weight: 11 oz. without bottles / 310 g without bottles (weight with bottles varies on the type and number of bottles you plan to use)
  • Height: 12 in. / 30 cm
  • Width: 9 in. / 23 cm
  • Depth: 2.5 in. / 6 cm
Sizing At Chest (Unisex)
  • SM: 25 - 31 in. / 63.5 - 78.7 cm
  • MD: 31 - 38 in. / 78.7 - 96.5 cm
  • LG: 38 - 43 in. / 96.5 - 109.2 cm
Make sure you measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear, as a vest full of gear will definitely fit smaller. On the other hand, purchase a vest that is too large and it will possibly bounce and worse chafe during your run.

After checking in at the race and having my mandatory gear checked by the race officials, I headed to my hotel room and laid out all of the gear I planned to pack for the race ahead. Listing it here will hopefully provide some insight into the capacity and utility of this vest. My mandatory gear included the following items: 1x weather proof but not waterproof jacket, 1x thermal long sleeve half-zip top, 1x buff, 1x emergency whistle, 1x headlamp with 4x AA batteries and spare batteries, 2x 14oz UD soft body bottles, 1x emergency blanket. I added the following items that I considered essential: 1x 17oz soft bottle as a backup, 1x pair of socks, 1x pair of gloves, 1x pair of waterproof gloves, 1x pair of trekking poles, 1x ipod and headphones, 30x SCaps, 10x gels, 1x epiPen, 1x chap stick, 1x Body Glide stick, 1x iphone, 3x packs of electrolyte chewables. After I was done packing, there was still plenty of room in all but the smallest of pouches and pockets on this vest.

After a previous run, I had decided to replace the standard 20oz bottles that come with the vest with the newer 14oz soft body bottles that Ultimate Direction and some other manufacturers now offer. It was a decision purely based on my own comfort. The original bottles would bang against my rib cage on the downhills, being a nuisance at best and leaving my ribs a bit painful after at worst. I consider the invention of the soft bottles as one of the most significant trail running inventions in a very long time. Well, I'm still looking for a super bright, light headlamp that will last all night, but other than that, the soft bottles are pretty much it in importance to me. What's even better, Ultimate Direction just released 18oz body bottles, which will allow me to carry more water while still fitting into the front pockets of all of the UD vests perfectly.

I filled up the water bottles, placed them in the vest and pulled the straps to secure them tight to avoid any bounce. Then I lifted the vest and to my surprise, it did not feel that heavy. What's more important, it didn't feel that heavy once I put it on my back and secured all of the straps to cinch it down (to secure the gear on the back and to secure the pack in the front via the 2x adjustable chest straps). I've owned this pack for a while, but I didn't realize until now that these chest straps also adjusted up and down, thereby allowing for an even better custom fit. I was duly impressed.

I guess that last comment kinda give it away already. I am a firm believer in this product and this vest in particular. I used this pack for the entire 18 hours it took me to reach the finish line, in constant rain and this pack help up perfectly. No bounce, no chafing, no back pain, heck, most of the time I completely forgot I was wearing the pack at all. If there is one point to mention, it is that you should probably zip lock any gear that you want to stay dry. This vest is designed to be breathable and you cant have both. However, one of the small pouches in the front of the vest is waterproof and it has kept my ipod dry for all of my adventures so far.

Further impressions of this pack, it really did a great job holding and securing my trekking poles, but it did make access to the back pockets challenging. However, that would be the case for any pack that utilizes a bungee cord of some sort to cinch down gear on the outside of the pack. It wasn't an issue for me and I was able to get to all of my gear as quickly as necessary. On a side note, I would love to see a product that comes up with an even better way to allow for trekking poles to be quickly released and quick secured in the future. For now, this vest did the job perfectly for me.

Final thoughts, this pack does everything I need it to do. It provides plenty of room for a 24 hour ultra marathon in remote areas. There was absolutely no sloshing around with the body bottles and the pack never shifted once, even when I fell. It never affected my natural balance and there were no hotspots anywhere. It does manage to hold all of my mandatory gear for UTMB, but I will discuss that in another upcoming post. It is my go to pack for longish adventures, but I might upgrade to the SJ 2.0 or the PB 2.0 for my birthday:-)

Please see a video review of the pack from the manufacturer Ultimate Direction and feel free to add comments below.

Martin grew up in Germany before moving to the US in 1994 but didn't start running until about 15 years ago. In 2008 he ran first road race (Cotton Row Run) and first marathon (Rocket City). Ever since then he has been pushing his limits and endurance with numerous ultramarathons.  His team biography can be found here and also his own running blog here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Recent Headlines

Lead Me to the Cross 5km
Huntsville, AL
March 14, 2015

Debolt takes overall win
Clark takes overall female win, places 5th overall

Official Results

1 Erik DeBolt 17:07
5 Julia Clark 20:05

Scottsboro Half Marathon
Scottsboro, AL
March 14, 2015

Taylor, Maehlmann lead team with top finishes
Charette, Patterson, Scavarda, Bowermaster run as pacers

Official Results

10 Dink Taylor, 49 - 1:29:53
11 Eric Charette, 39 - 1:29:55
26 Katie Maehlmann, 37 - 1:41:25
27 Eric Patterson, 42 - 1:41:29
56 Kathy Youngren, 40 - 1:53:58
83 Susi Bowermaster, 25 - 1:59:40
126 Linda Scavarda, 31 - 2:09:28

Music City Trail Ultra
Peagram, TN
March 14, 2015

Scott places 2nd female in 50km

Official Results

8 Christy Scott - 6:35:57

Georgia Death Race
March 14, 2015

Schneekloth finishes in 18 hours 9 minutes

Official Results Pending

Bones in Motion 5 Miler
Madison, AL
March 14, 2015

Clemens takes crown with 30:42

Official Results

1 Jim Clemens - 30:42

Hoot Scootin' 5km
Huntsville, AL
March 7, 2015

Chaffin finishes 2nd overall, sets new personal best
Byers second place female, top master's finisher

Official Results

2 Aleisha Chaffin, 33F - 20:12
5 Rebecca Byers, 41F - 21:37

Delano Park Ultra
Decatur, AL
March 7, 2015

Satterfield extends annual ultra running streak, goes 73 miles in 12-hr event
Scavarda takes top female honors, finishes with 60 miles

12 Hour Solo
1 DeWayne Satterfield 73 miles
4 Dink Taylor 65 miles
6 Linda Scavarda 60 miles

12 Hour Relay
1 BAMF 2.0 (Youngren, Youngren, Hodges, Mitchell, Vinson) 103 miles
5 Sleepy Hollow She Beasts (Doyle) 80 miles

Run Hard Columbia Half Marathon
Columbia, SC
March 7, 2015

Bowermaster finishes 15th overall female

Official Results

45 Susi Bowermaster, 25 - 1:41:19

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Recent Headlines

Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon
Birmingham, AL
February 22, 2015

Reynolds, Pitt set personal bests in marathon
Mitchell finishes 6th female, sets PR in half marathon

Marathon Results

14 Greg Reynolds - 2:48:27
19 Tim Pitt - 2:54:11

Half Marathon Results

30 Lauren Mitchell - 1:21:44
35 Tim Vinson - 1:23:00
240 Julia Clark - 1:43:11

Black Warrior 50km
Moulton, AL
February 21, 2015

Satterfield finishes 2nd overall, top men's master
Scavarda takes 3rd place female

Official Results

2 DeWayne Satterfield - 4:23:14
17 Linda Scavarda - 6:32:59

Miss Albany Piggy Tail 7km
Priceville, AL
February 28, 2015

Charette takes overall win, sets course record

Official Results

1 Eric Charette - 24:49

Mount Cheaha 50km
Anniston, AL
February 28, 2015

Pitt leads team in race to the top of Alabama
Schneekloth finishes top men's master
Scott top female masters

Official Results

6 Tim Pitt - 5:06
7 Martin Schneekloth - 5:08
8 Dink Taylor - 5:16
Christy Scott - 6:44

Mash, Splash & Dash Indoor Triathlon
Huntsville, AL
February 28, 2015

Official Results

Reynolds takes overall win at indoor triathlon

1 Greg Reynolds 600 yard swim (7:58) / 10 mile stationary bike (19:57) / 3 mile treadmill (16:05)

UAH 8k
Huntsville, AL
March 1, 2015

Heeschen leads men with 3rd place finish on new course
Clark finishes 2nd female overall
Vinson, Byers top masters finishers

3 George Heeschen, 28 - 27:57
4 Erik DeBolt, 32 - 28:09
6 Eric Charette, 39 - 29:13
7 Tim Vinson, 49 - 29:14
10 DeWayne Satterfield, 50 - 30:18
11 Robert Whitaker, 56 - 30:35
12 Marty Clarke, 52 - 30:34
21 Rick Maehlmann, 38 - 32:31
24 Julia Clark, 30 - 33:10
38 Rebecca Byers, 41 - 35:57
40 Linda Scavarda, 31 - 36:04
41 Dana Overton, 40 -36:16
42 Julie Mason, 26 - 36:18