Tuesday, August 21, 2007

After DNFing Waldo last year, I've been really looking forward to attacking this beast of a run again. Unfortunately, I spent half my summer injured and I wasn't sure till the White River 50miler if I was in good enough shape. Rode down with Kris who finished last year and we had a spaghetti diner at the Willamette Ski Lodge and listened to Chris Thornley's pre race instructions then I sacked out in my tent right by the start/finish. Woke up at 2am feeling ready, got to the start line for the 3am early start with 30 others. I hiked up the first section with Todd Temple, he's faster than me but had also been injured so we both took it easy. On the downhill, we slowly pulled away from the rest, blew through the Gold lake aid station and started climbing. I let Todd go, but by the time I got to Fuji Mtn. aid station, I was in 4th place. It was 5:45 in the morning and there at 6,500 ft aid station was John Pearch in a grass skirt! I wish I had a camera there. The climb to the top was comfortable and the sunrise view at the top was fantastic. On the way to Mt Ray aid station, I passed Pete "Hippo" and left the aid station in 3rd place out of the early starters. Even though I'm a solid mid packer, I suddenly felt like I was racing and with Hippo in tow took off with renewed vigor. About halfway to the Twins aid station at around 23miles, some hiker moved the trail markings right after Todd passed through the junction and sent me and Hippo the wrong way. I was happily cruising down the trail for another 30 min. when the terrain didn't seem right. We stopped at a junction with more flagging heading downhill when the normal start, first place runner went blowing by down the trail, so off we went. We then hit another junction and ended up on the Gold Lk trail at a stream crossing I recognized. Holy Crap! we were way far away from the Twins. Fortunatly, I felt great and had plenty of time to finish and get that dam hat, so off we went back tracking. We arrived at the Twins aid station about 1.5 hrs late. I ran an extra 6 miles and went from 64th place overall to 90th(out of 100). I felt good but had lost my spunk. I decided to rest at Carlton Lk aid station, where I dropped last year, and get my head back in the game. At Carlton Lk, I got a blister taped up, had a shot of beer from Clem's keg, (I heard I was the only runner that had one), fueled up and took off into the great unknown. I ran mostly by myself for the next 3 hours, walking the ups and cruising the downs, saving energy for the Maiden Peak climb. At the Maiden Peak aid station, I met Hippo again and Kent Holder. I hiked up Maiden just like I did Suntop at White River, steady and energetic. I actually passed those two on the way up, I never pass runners on a hike! I felt great at the top of Maiden and the view was fantastic. I headed down to the Maiden Lk aid station knowing I had the finish and a hat in the bag. However, on the last 7 mile section, I developed a shin splint on my right leg and couldn't run more than a few steps at a time. So I walked around the lakes, enjoying the views, but got concerned about the darkness. Didn't want to finish with a headlamp, so I jogged in and was greeted by Kris and John at the finish and got my Hat! I felt great but hated finishing so late, most runners had gone home, it was dark and cold, and I had to jump into my sleeping bag to stave off hypothermia. Though I was disappointed about the detour, the race was so well done, the aid stations were incredible, and I felt comfortable the whole distance. I feel if I pay attention, I can easily do it under 16 hours next year.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Had a successful White River 50, did terrible first half, but recovered and ran a great second half, proving my motto "It doesn't always get worse!". We started friday nite with a Pasta feed at the Snorting Elk at Crystal Mountain, with RD Scott McCoubrey standing there with a crutch, high on pain pills, doing a great job describing the race. The morning weather was great for the start, sunny and cool. I started near the back, my plan was to start out slow. I ran along the single track trail in a pack at a very comfortable pace except for the woman behind me who was so excited, she kept running up alongside me even though there was no room on the trail. The first climb is steep and as usual, everyone started passing me on the hike up. With 5 more miles to Corral Pass, I was feeling down, must only be 10 runners behind me. This section was an out and back, It was great to see all the runners coming back, James let out a holler and was cruising comfortably, but on the way back, I didn't see very many runners :( However, I did figure out I wasn't eating my gels, so I fueled up and started picking up the pace. The last leg of the first loop was a 4.5mile downhill. I now felt great and started passing runners until I tripped over a rock, knocking myself over the steep bank until my left leg got stuck inside the end of a rotton stump. I hurt alittle all over, but the real pain was my left calf cramping. I crawled back up to the trail and noticed I lost one of my handheld bottles. A couple of runners came by and helped me look for my bottle, but it was long gone. I ran well down to the start/finish aid station where John thankfully ran to his car to get me another hand held(I did worry about cooties), which was critical for the next climb. I started the climb to Sun Top full of energy and started passing more runners. Just before the summit, Glen was there taking pictures and this time I was really running! I felt good on the 5mile downhill on the gravel road and continued to pass more runners. At the last aid station, I thought I might be able to finish under 11 hours. But the last 6 miles was gnarly and rooty and it took me 15 minutes longer to reach the finish line. I was very happy with my run even though it took so long. The best part, I ran the second loop almost an hour faster than the first loop and no one passed me until the last 100 yards. Now I feel ready for Waldo!