Saturday, March 24, 2007

Today, RD John Pearch and I spent the morning in the pouring rain,doing trail work on the Lost Valley section of the upcomming Capitol Peak 50 miler. This is a very pretty section of trail that can easily lose it's appeal if overgrown. Some of you may remember the 2005 race when we all had to fight through a thick section of salmon berry bushes, getting scratched all over. But today, with brushwacker in hand, we destroyed those pesky bushes and created a freeway through the Lost Valley. I felt great joy and satisfaction buzzing through with a weed wacker, sending pieces of salmon berry bushes flying! I strongly recommend trail work to take out your frustrations or revenge for scratches and trips. I believe John will announce a couple of trail work/training run days in the near future for the Capitol Peak 50 miler. I strongly recommend volunteering, it's worth it!

Monday, March 19, 2007

This was a great trip and as usual, plenty of laughs in addition to the race. Kris drove Kyle and I with her friend, future Western finisher, Anna Bates. Of course, Anna grilled Kyle about his records, his family, and his life on the way up("It's like talking to Lance Armstrong!"). We dropped Kyle at Mt. Vernon, picked up our race packets, and went looking for a brew pub. Kris has a nack of just driving around and finding places. A quick meal, checked in the hotel, Kris repacked all her bags for the fourth time, and they were in their PJ's and in bed by time the rest of the crew showed. Terry, going for his first 50K, stayed with us in the "racer's room", with Alexa, Laura, and James in the other. Did a quick checklist with Terry, and of course, he forgot his waterbottle in Laura's car and ran down to get it. In the morning, Anna gave Terry tons of sage advice as he wondered what to take with - talked him out of his backpack. Got James up at the last moment, and headed for the start. It was pouring down rain! well at least it wasn't snowing like the last three races so far this year. Got our group photo, then Terry and I striped down to a long sleve shirt and took off near the front of the pack for the start. Of course Kyle took off, lead the whole race and won. We ran a comfortable pace for the first 6 miles on the flat, Terry pointing out the house he and Alexa tried to rent for us but, ended up in a legal argument with the landlord(never say I'm an attorney to a landlord!). Once we started the first climb, Terry pulled away and I never saw him again until the finish. I had been anxious about this run, I sprained my foot the week prior and only got the swelling down enough to wear a shoe on Wed. Though still a little swollen and colored, my foot seemed to be ok and I kept up a normal pace. I ended up running with three western states entrants, Eric and his pacer Steve(who I met at Orcas), Tony C., and Clem. After aid station #3, Tony and Clem took off, and I took my time on that knarly ridge trying not to twist my ankle again. That loop was way long, but I ended up catching up with Clem and we both crawed up chin scraper together complaining all the way. I ended up running out of water and was really hungry, so when I got the the aid station, I stayed and ate everything there while everyone else took off. Felt good on the downhill, passed Eric and Clem and hit the last aid station feeling like a winner. But after 5 min. on the flat gravel path, my ankle flared up and my run slowed to a shuffle. It looks from the results, I lost an additional 12min. on that section and was passed by 26 runners, the last one being Clem. A little depressing, but I felt great about the race overall. Finished in 5:52, Terry had an outstanding rookie time of 5:35. Kris came in a little after 6 hours and Anna shortly thereafter. We all went back to the hotel to get showers, Terry (the rookie) took a hot tub, then sat down at a table with Alexa and promptly fainted and fell on the floor. The hotel called our room so Kris and Anna ran downstairs and I took advantage of the empty shower. Terry was ok, just a little dream session and he was up and at it again. Since Anna was insisting on having oysters, our little caravan went on search mission down Chuckanut drive ending up at the Longhorn Tavern in Elgin! The only businesses in this little is town is two bakeries and two taverns. We ended up with some strange beer and sandwiches, but the highlight of the whole trip was the unveiling of Terry's race shirt. The one thing Anna didn't tell Terry about was taping his nipples(I guess it's a guy thing!). Terry's shirt was a bloody mess. I checked out the official finish pictures, and there he is, two gun shots in the chest! I can't wait to see the next cover for Northwest Runner!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Rode up with Jim and we managed to miss the 3:30 ferry, not a big deal, but crossed at night and didn’t see much until we reached Orcas and saw those ever familiar big yellow Capitol forest Trail Run sandwich boards all over the island. Met James at the Lodge, what an awesome place! We claimed our bunks in the first cabin and hobnobbed with the other runners for the rest of the night. Sleeping in the bunkhouse went well, only one snorer out of 16 people. We all got up at 6:30, the weather was threatening, Terry spent most of the morning trying to decide if he was going to run with his backpack or not. It was cool at the start, we all ran together for about 2 miles until the groups split. The hi-lite of the first 9 mile loop was a nasty scramble up moss covered rock that was better than the grunt at Peterson Ridge. The first loop ended at the lodge, it seemed like 12 miles. However, the real fun was just down the trail, a long narly climb up a powerline easement with snow and wind blowing 20-30mph on our backs. I was hiking with Christel and we both anxiously gazed at trees creaking and cracking in the gusts of wind. Then I took a wrong turn for about a 100 yards and lost the people I had been running with. After an hour, I caught up with a couple of runners and we started the climb up to Mt. Constitution. It took awhile, got into some snow, then we reached the false summit. With the strong wind and snow, my hands were getting cold, and I was getting hungry for Top Ramin. There was a sign, two miles to the summit, but due to the conditions, running along a ridge in blowing snow, it felt more like 4 miles! What a wonderful sight seeing that aid station! Laura was there spooning out soup and hot chocolate, and John filled my water bottles. Warmed up and raring to go, I headed down hill with Rich White and instantly noticed my mistake. I wore gloves, but my handheld water bottles were almost frozen and my hands quickly followed suite. I was out of the snow in about 15 minutes but it took another 15 for my hands to thaw out. I ran the downhills carefully, hiked the remaining uphills comfortably, and didn’t tighten up till about the last mile. My time was 7:44, all time slowest 50K, but a very satisfying run. Scott, Terry, and Jim all had very good runs for the 25K, Laura wins the courage award, sweeping the last part of the course, getting lost and finishing in the dark! The best part was the quality, down home music in the lodge that James arranged that evening. After a few beers and a good sleep, Jim and I got up early, cleaned the lodge and cabins, and took off to American Legion pancake feed, planning to catch the 12:45 ferry. John and Peter showed up at the Pancake feed a few minutes after us but when it came time to catch the ferry, we found ourselves in the standby line for the 2:45! John managed to be the #1 car for the 6:00 ferry! Driving down to load on the ferry, we were stopped next to John, as I waved, Jim lurched the car forward and the ferry worker, chagrined that Jim was now out in the intersection, waived us on… we were the last car on! We left the State Park at 10:30am and got home at 8:00pm! Ferry Hell! The Orcas experience was fantastic! James put on one heck of a weekend. This will be a must due from now on!